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SPECIAL 



no 



ih ANNIVERSARY 




How to Do, I PLusrThe Invention That 

Fix, or Upgrade Started NASCAR's 

Almost Anything! I Horsepower War p. 68 



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COVER STORY 





In the spirit of DIY we teamed up with type designer Jordan Metcalf to create the lettering on this month's cover. Sketched 
using good of pencil and paper, then digitally refined, his treatment is a tribute to the look and printing styles of our early days. 



PHOTOGRAPH BY DWIGHT ESCHLIMAN PROP STYLING BY MEGAN CAPONETTO 



10 How to Reach Us 12 Letters 112 This Is My Job 




Bold Digger Bury your win- 
ter doldrums and get a jump on 
gardening season with the no- 
nonsense Craftsman D-Handled 
Digging Shovel. Plus: Three job- 
site tape measures brave the PM 
Abusive Lab Test; not all survive. 



New Cars 



Start Saving "me transparent 
engine cover is gone, so you can't 
see the powerhouse of the 2012 
Ferrari 458 Spider— but man, 
you sure can hear it. Plus: Hello, 
adrenaline rush— driving the 2012 
Chevy Camaro ZL1; the shaky 
future of infotainment systems. 




It's almost too bad that telescoping antennas have 
gone out of style; they are actually pretty elegant, 
albeit in a Rube Goldberg kind of way. " 
— DIYAuto, "Stuck at mlf-Mast," page 99 



Columns 



Anatomy of Big Air It takes 2 seconds for Olympic snowboarder Kelly Clark to execute 
a 900-degree aerial, thanks to a rare mix of athleticism, technology, and physics. 

44 The Winning Way to Trim the Pentagon Military capability and spending cuts seem 
like oil and water. We offer a four-point plan to trim the fat while keeping readiness high. 



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Tech 

Personal Prototyping 

Realize your design concepts 
with easy (and cheap) 3D 
modeling and printing. 

Digital Clinic We test 
a slew of screen-scratch 
remedies. Plus: Finding cell- 
phone reception; the end of 
the HDTV resolution race. 

Home 

A Place in the Sun Every 

yard needs a sturdy, comfort- 
able place to sit. Build our sim- 
ple, classic bench— and take a 
load off on a nice sunny day. 
Homeowners Clinic How 
to choose the right drill bit 
for boring big holes. Plus: 
Remounting old cabinets; to 
caulk or not to caulk trim? 

98 PM Saturday Our DIY pipe 
chimes coax sweet sounds 
from gentle breezes. 

Auto 

99 Stuck at Half-Mast Not get- 
ting a rise out of your telescop- 
ing antenna? We've got the fix 
for these finicky throwbacks. 

Car Clinic Why driving 
on a spare tire too long is 
not only dangerous, but also 
harmful to your ride. 
Plus: Lifting old bumper 
stickers; how to slow down a 
twitchy turn signal. 



PopMech App 



4 



Me 



68 The Invention That Started Nascar's Horsepower War 
46 The 110 Best Tips Ever 



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6 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



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TM of Ziff Davis, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 



MIGHT i 0) LIGHT 



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ONE-OF-A-KIND CAR FACTORY 



Volkswagen's Transparent Factory is more than 
an assembly line, In an ultramodern building 
with 300,000 square feet of glass, workers 
hand-build 44 VW Phaetons a day— and buyers 
come here on an automotive pilgrimage to pick 
up their new cars. 
popularmechanics. com/vwfactory 




INTENSE HANDGUN TRAINING 



I Owning a gun 
doesn't prepare you to repel a home invasion. 
You need expertise. Now a sophisticated train- 
ing program formerly available only to police 
officers is becoming accessible to the public. 
Watch the video of PM senior news editor Joe 
Pappalardo's day of force-on-force training. 
popularmechanics. com/handgun 



YOUR GADGETS ARE WATCHING YOU 



I We 



can guarantee (almost, probably) that shadowy 
government agents are not tailing you through- 
out the day. But that doesn't mean you're safe 
from prying eyes. The real spies are the gadgets 
you already own and use every day. 
popularmechanics.com/spygadgets 

For extra photos and video from our 
editors, follow Popular Mechanics on 
Twitter at ©PopMech, on Facebook at 
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Tumblr at popmech.tumblr.com. 



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10 MARCH 2012 | P0PULARMECHANICS.COM 



Popular Mechanics Science/ Technology/ Automotive /Home/ Adventure 



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At Combat Outpost Ghormach in Afghanistan, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Emory Sims (left) of Yale, Mich., 
and Master Sgt. Pat Bridges of Memphis, Tenn., savor each issue of PM. "It gives us fantasies of 
being back home— where we can fix things using the correct tools and parts," they write. 



Ld a hi-res photo of yourself 
k the latest issue (plus your 
e, city, and state, and a short 
about why you love PM) to 
ilarmechanics@hearst.com. 
;ome of our favorites at popular 
^hanics.com/readerphotos. 



Secret War," January), you should keep 
it on computers that are not connected 
to the Internet. Online hackers cannot 
get through a connection that does not 
exist. But the threat of individuals hack- 
ing and spying within a company's com- 
puter system will always be there, as 
many companies that had computer 
networks before they had Internet con- 
nections have learned. 
BOB ACKLEY EMERSON, IA 

Air-Race Adjustment 

Safety should always be the prime con- 
cern of air shows (Tech Watch, "Reno 
Air Race Crash," January), even if mak- 
ing them safer means moving the view- 
ing site farther from the action. No one 
should have to put his or her life at risk 
to be entertained. 

STEPHEN LICHOTA GOODELLS, Ml 



Higher Education Trap 

I've been waiting for someone to write 
about the unbelievable cost of an under- 
graduate degree ("The College Bubble," 
January). The education industry should 
be ashamed to saddle young people with 
such outrageous loans. Libraries offer 
knowledge for free. We should encour- 
age a recognized certification system in 
which students can learn on their own 
and then seek certification in a field of 
their choice. Let's give the colleges and 
universities some competition. 
PHILIP HILL ISHPEMING, Ml 

A contributing factor to the surging 
costs of tuition is the easy access to 
credit — just like in the housing market. 
Employed people can barely refinance 
their homes, yet unemployed students 
are handed massive loans that in many 
cases are equivalent to a mortgage. 
RALPH BOUVY PLANO, TX 

Prevent a Hack Attack 

If you want your personal and propri- 
etary data safe from digital spies ("The 



Congratulations to senior correspondent Jeff Wise, whose story "What Really Hap- 
pened Aboard Air France 447" (popularmechanics.com) was named one of the best 
long-form journalism pieces of the year by Longreads.com. The Economist called the 
story "damning and heart-stopping," and our readers, including many pilots, agreed. 
"Wow, I was holding my breath until the very end," reader Gui Ambros commented 
via Facebook. Read highlights of the gripping story beginning on page 22. 




mrfans 
llowers 


Hello, PM readers on 
^> Facebook and Twitter— 


New episode: Will SOPA 


destroy the Internet? 


and thank you for 


(SPOILER ALERT) Myth 


responding to our stories. 


confirmed. 




Here are some recent 


BRENT GRIMM, VIA FACEBOOK 


comments: 




£S 




"The 1 00 Hottest Cars of All 


kn Q 


"MythBuster Adam Savage: 


Time, "popularmechanics.com: 




SOPA Could Destroy the 


Omitting the DeLorean 




Internet as We Know It/' 


DMC-12 from this list is poor 




popularmechanics. com: 


judgment. None of these can 




Totally agree! No matter 


be fitted with a flux capacitor. 




your politics, [the Stop Online 


JAY FURY, VIA FACEBOOK 




Piracy Act] is a terrible piece 






of legislation that would give 


As the dad, 1 have first dibs on 




far too much power to 


each new issue of Popular 




government and corporate 


Mechanics, but 1 can't lay it 




entities. 


down or my sons snatch it. 




PAT MOORE, VIA FACEBOOK 


©CAVECRASHER, VIA TWITTER 




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include your full name, address, and phone number (even if you correspond by email). All letters may be published and are subject to 
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Nicotrol Inhaler 

lOmg/cartridge 



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FOR ORAL INHALATION USE ONLY 



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Ready to try to quit smoking 
Meet another option. 



Nicotro 



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Trying to quit smoking but need some help? Talk to your doctor to see if NICOTROL Inhaler-the inhaled 
prescription nicotine replacement therapy-may be right for you. 

NICOTROL Inhaler, when used as part of a comprehensive behavioral smoking cessation program, may help you 
quit smoking by reducing your urge to smoke. 1 

For more information on NICOTROL Inhaler, visit www.Nicotrol.com/2012 



Indication 

NICOTROL Inhaler is indicated as an aid to smoking cessation 
for the relief of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It is available 
only by prescription and is recommended for use as part of a 
comprehensive behavioral smoking cessation program. 

Important Safety Information 

Do not use the NICOTROL Inhaler if you are hypersensitive or 
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If you have cardiovascular, peripheral vascular, or 
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You should stop smoking completely before using the 
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Because nicotine is addictive, it is possible to become 
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The safety of treatment with the NICOTROL Inhaler for 
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A special note about children and pets: The NICOTROL 

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You are likely to experience mild irritation of the mouth or 
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In clinical trials, the frequency of mouth or throat irritation, 
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It is important to tell your doctor about any other medications 
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects 
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Please see Brief Summary of Important Risk Information for NICOTROL Inhaler on the back. 

1. Nicotrol Inhaler [prescribing information]. New York, NY: Pfizer Inc; 2008. 

NCU00128/419619-01 ©2011 Pfizer Inc. ALL rights reserved. December 2011 <^> 



roll 

W 



Nicotrolrlnhaler 

(nicotine inhalation f 
system) 



10 mg per cartridge (4 mg delivered) 

Important Facts About NICOTROL Inhaler 

This information does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your 
medical condition or your treatment. 

What is the most important information I should know about 
NICOTROL Inhaler? 

Do not use NICOTROL Inhaler if you are hypersensitive or allergic to nicotine or 
to menthol. 

Because you are already addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes, it is possible to 
stay dependent on the Lower dose of nicotine found in the NICOTROL Inhaler. 
It is important to use the Inhaler for only as Long as directed by your doctor to 
overcome your nicotine addiction and smoking habit. 

People who use NICOTROL Inhaler with a comprehensive behavioral smoking 
cessation program are more successful in quitting smoking. This program can 
include support groups, counseling or specific behavior change techniques. 

Remember: 

• Do not use more than 16 cartridges each day unless directed to do so 
by your doctor 

• Do not use NICOTROL Inhaler longer than 6 months 

Keep out of reach of children and pets. The NICOTROL Inhaler can cause 
serious illness in children and pets— even in very small amounts. If a child 
chews on or swallows NICOTROL InhaLer cartridges, call a doctor or 
Poison Control Center. 

NICOTROL InhaLer may cause side effects. Many people experience mild 
irritation of the mouth or throat and cough when they first use the NICOTROL 
InhaLer. Most people get used to these effects in a short time. Stomach upset 
may also occur. Nicotine from any source can be toxic and addictive. 

If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, only use this medicine on the advice 
of your health care provider. Smoking can seriously harm your chiLd. Try to 
stop smoking without using any nicotine replacement medicine. This medicine 
is believed to be safer than smoking. However, the risks to your child from this 
medicine are not fully known. 

What should I know before I start using NICOTROL Inhaler? 

Commit yourself - NO SMOKING! For the NICOTROL InhaLer to help, you must 
be firmly committed to quitting! Stop smoking as soon as you start using the 

Inhaler. Do not smoke or use any other tobacco products at any time while 
using the NICOTROL Inhaler. 

Nicotine overdose can occur. If symptoms of overdose occur, call a doctor 
or Poison Control Center immediately. Overdose symptoms include: bad 
headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, cold 
sweat, blurred vision, hearing difficulties, mental confusion, weakness and 
fainting. 

What is NICOTROL Inhaler? 

NICOTROL Inhaler helps you quit smoking by reducing your urge to smoke. 

Success in quitting with nicotine replacement therapy (such as NICOTROL 
InhaLer) usually involves behavior change. Your doctor may adjust the number 



of InhaLer cartridges during the first few weeks. As your body adjusts to not 
smoking, your doctor will either tell you to stop using the InhaLer or slowly 
reduce the dose. 

What is a nicotine replacement therapy? 

Nicotine replacement products are one type of smoking cessation product. 
Designed to wean your body off cigarettes, they supply you with nicotine in 
controlled amounts while sparing you from other chemicals found in tobacco 
products. 

What should I tell my healthcare provider before using 
NICOTROL Inhaler? 

Tell your doctor if you have: 

• heart problems (recent heart attack, irregular heartbeat severe or 
worsening heart pain) 

• allergies to drugs 

• high blood pressure 

• diabetes requiring insulin 

• stomach ulcers 

• kidney or liver disease 

• overactive thyroid 

• wheezing or asthma 

Tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking— the dosages may need 
to be changed. Check with your doctor before taking any new medicine 
while using NICOTROL Inhaler. 

What are the possible side effects of NICOTROL Inhaler? 

You may experience mild irritation of the mouth or throat and cough when you 
first use the NICOTROL Inhaler. You should get used to these effects in a short 
time. Stomach upset may also occur. 

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go 
away. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. 

How do I use NICOTROL Inhaler? 

Follow doctor's directions. Stop smoking completely during the NICOTROL 

InhaLer treatment program. See full Patient Information for additional details. 

How should I store NICOTROL Inhaler? 

• Store cartridges at room temperature, not to exceed 77° F (25° C) 

• If you keep cartridges in car, be careful: interiors heat up quickly 

• Protect from light 

• Clean mouthpiece regularly with soap and water 

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to 
the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. 

Need more information? Ask your doctor or heaLthcare provider. Talk to your 
pharmacist. Visit to www.NIC0TR0L.com or call 1-800-222-7200. 

References: 1. Nkotrol Inhaler [prescribing information]. New York, NY: Pfizer Inc; 2008. 2. FDA 
101: Smoking cessation products. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site. http://www.Fda.gov/ 
ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm 198176.htm. Accessed November 14, 2011. 



Need help paying for Pfizer medicines? 

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All rights reserved. 



December 2011 



NEWS + TRENDS + BREAKTHROUGHS 



TechWatch 




JF-jr 






9 PH 



S3 tt»m%M :» '^"...md 







The business end of Harriet the 
tunnel-boring machine has fearsome 
incisors and crushers that can chew 
up 5 linear feet of rock per hour. 



At 43 feet in diameter and 457 feet long, the tunnel-boring machine (TBM) 
creating the Port of Miami Tunnel is among the largest of its type. Unfortunately, 
Harriet, as the $45 million giant is known, also happens to be slow. In the 35 days 
after she broke ground on Nov. 11, 2011, Harriet progressed just 130 feet. By 
June, she's scheduled to carve out 4200 linear feet beneath Biscayne Bay. 

Project vice president Chris Hodgkins attributes the snail's pace in part to the 
porous limestone that the 2800-ton TBM must plow through while cutting two 
parallel tunnels between Watson and Dodge islands. (The second tunnel is due for 
completion by spring 2013.) The tunnels will be a boon to the tourism and shipping 
industries; they will also ease traffic in downtown Miami by diverting cargo trucks 



POPULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 15 




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Mir. 



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John L^ 
Senior Engineer 
Mazda North American < 




. )0 years, an obsession has pushed us to keep improving how our cars look, how they drive 
md how they make you feel behind the wheel. It's in our DNA. It drove us to successfully engineer 
our revolutionary rotary engine, and it's driven us to reimagine the automobile as a whole today. 



Our goal? Ultimate efficiency. Achieve the unheard of, where fuel economy, low emissions and 
outstanding driving performance coexist in cars accessible to everyone. Pulling it off meant 
starting with a clean slate, not just carrying over old parts-and old ideas. It meant starting from 
the ground up and rethinking everything to work together in unprecedented harmony. We call it 
SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY. 



Imagine an engine that pushes the boundaries of engineering, delivering 15% more low-end torque, 
yet 15% better fuel efficiency, by running the compression ratio of a Formula 1 race car, all while 



sipping 87 octane fuel. Imagine an automatic transmission so srric 



?ctly rev-matches 



downshifts faster than a dual-clutch transmission, while also improving fuel economy by an 
additional 4%. Imagine entirely new bodies 220 pounds lighter, yet stiffer and stronger than the 
bodies they replace. We imagined it all and more, and then we made it a reality. 



The full capacity of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY and its entire suite of innovations can now be 
experienced in the all-new Mazda CX-5, then look for the evolution of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY 
with every new Mazda going forward. 



Reimagining the automobile wasn't the goal, it just ended up that way. But that's who we are, 
and that's what we do. Because for us, if it's not worth driving, it's not worth building." 
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Meet our engineers and experience more Mazda stories at facebook.com/mazda 



We build Mazdas. 
What do you drivel 



zoom-zoom 



TECH WATCH 



and cruise-passenger buses. 

"We have a Swiss-cheese situation we're trying to 
address/ Hodgkins tells Popular Mechanics. To fill in the 
nooks and crannies, a "drill and fill'' operation pumps in 
grout to shore up the cutting path. This is particularly 
painstaking beneath Government Cut, a shipping channel 
between Miami and the Atlantic. There, drilling barges must 



stop work to make way for cargo ships and cruise liners. 
"We can't get in the way of the mother's milk of the 
economy," says Hodgkins, who claims the project is on 
schedule despite the obstacles. 

But in addition to Harriet s awesome power and 
Hodgkins's troubleshooting, the project's success relies on 
one other ingredient: patience. - amanda dematto 



<r WATSON ISLAND 



Progress (as of 
Jan. 11, 2012): 450 ft 



Tunnel depth: 
120 ft 



Drill 
barge 



DODGE ISLAND -» 



Cruise ship 




Tunnel length: 4200 ft 



Tunnel diameter: 

41ft 

Grout injected into 
porous limestone 

Projected 
completion (first 
of two tunnels): 
June 2012 




ACTUAL SIZE 



1. THIN-FILM 
SOLAR CELLS 

2. SENSOR 

3. PIEZOELECTRIC 
BEAMS 



Insects guided by remote 
control have been around 
for a few years (Tech Watch, June 
2009). But they continue to have the 
same problem as many tech gadgets: 
short battery life. University of 
Michigan engineers propose to fix 
this by gleaning energy from the 
insects themselves. The researchers 
attached piezoelectric harvesters to 
generate power from the wing 
movements of green June beetles. 
Other power-generation methods 
could include thermoelectric devices 
to tap body heat, and solar cells. The 
electricity would run cameras, mics, 
and gas detectors, making cyborg 
insects ideal first responders in 
cramped, hazardous situations. 

- ALEX HUTCHINSON 



• QUICK HITS 



£ 




SPACE, OR SOMETHING LIKE IT-* A massive new cryo 
genie vacuum chamber at the German Aerospace Center 
in Gottingen will offer the interplanetary version of a wind 
tunnel for satellite and spacecraft testing. Researchers 
evacuate the 39-foot-long, 16-foot-wide "space tunnel" 
with a special cryogenic helium pump that creates a 
space-like vacuum and temperatures as low as minus 
450 F. One of the key goals of the facility is to test 
ion-propulsion systems, which use electricity rather than 
combustion to accelerate satellites and spacecraft. 



i 



THE AIR FORCE GETS ITS BIGGEST BOMB - The Air 

Force Global Strike Command received its first GBU-57A/B 
Massive Ordnance Penetrator in September 2011. Guided 
by Global Positioning System, it is America's largest 
non-nuclear bomb, packing 5300 pounds of explosives and 
measuring 20.5 feet long, according to the Pentagon. The 
bomb can penetrate up to 200 feet of reinforced concrete 
before exploding— useful in destroying underground 
bunkers like ones in Iran and North Korea. The weapon will 
be carried by B-2 stealth and B-52 long-range bombers. 



18 MARCH 2012 I POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE SCOTT 



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TECH WATCH 



WEAPONRY 



The Plastic Pistol 




Designed for the Austrian army by engineer Gaston Glock, the 
Glock 17 became the go-to handgun for European armed forces 
after its debut in 1982. Durable and inexpensive to produce, the 
Glock caught on fast in the U.S. a few years later. "If you look at 
handguns in America, the Glock has had the kind of revolutionary 
effect on the marketplace that the AK-47 has had on high-capacity 
rifles worldwide/' says Paul Barrett, author of Glock: The Rise of 
America's Gun (Crown, 2012). Today, it's the weapon of choice 
of police departments and millions of civilian shooters, and has 
become a pop-culture phenomenon: "me Glock name has been 
dropped in movies, rap songs, and David Foster Wallace's Infinite 
Jest. "The gun has taken on an aura beyond its use as an actual 
weapon," Barrett says. - erin McCarthy 



Plastic body 



The Glock's 
industrial-grade 
polymer frame 
keeps the 
weapon's loaded 
weight to 2 
pounds, absorbs 
recoil, and guards 
against damage 
by salt water 
and sweat. 



Trigger safety II ■ Trigger pull 



Officers who used 
handguns with a 
traditional safety 
often forgot if it 
was on or off. The 
Glock's protrudes 
from the trigger; 
to fire the gun, the 
shooter depresses 
both parts in one 
motion. "It was 
marketed as an 
innovation," 
Barrett says. 
"It's also the 
reason the design 
has been criticized 
by gun-control 
advocates, 
because there's 
no way to put it 
on full safety." 



Atypical revolver 
has a 12-pound 
trigger pull. The 
Glock's pull is just 
5.5 pounds, 
making it easier 
to control. 
"A mediocre 
shooter can 
suddenly become 
more accurate," 
Barrett says. 



Magazine 



Shootouts in the 
1980s persuaded 
cops that the 
six-round revolvers 
they had carried 
for 75 years 
weren't sufficient. 
The Glock's 
17-round 
magazine— and 
other innovative 
components- 
made it an ideal 
weapon. "The 
American gun 
establishment was 
caught unaware 
by Glock," Barrett 
says. "Before they 
knew it, it made a 
huge incursion 
into their market." 




• QUICK HITS 



Li 



REPURPOSED COMMODITY m As electric cars gain popularity, the world is going to need 
a lot more lithium for batteries— and the United States already imports about half of what 
it requires. California-based Simbol Materials has a solution: Take the hot brine that's 
pumped out of the ground by geothermal power plants and extract and purify the lithium. 
The process also plucks manganese and zinc— two other useful minerals for battery 
production— from the brine, then returns the liquid to the geothermal plant to be piped 
underground. Simbol started commercial production last fall at a plant near the Salton Sea 
in Imperial Valley, Calif., which is expected to produce 550 tons per year of ultrapure lithium. 
Later this year, the company will break ground on another facility that will increase 
production to 16,000 tons per year. 



20 MARCH 2012 I POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



• MATERIAL 
MIRACLES 

Empty 
Metal 

A group of 
scientists in 
California have 
created the 
world's lightest 
metal— 100 times 
lighter than 
Styrofoam. 
Working under 
a Defense Depart- 
ment program, 
the researchers 
crafted a micro - 
lattice of hollow 
nickel tubes that 
is 99.9 percent 
air. Unlike other 
ultralightweight 
materials, the 
metal has an 
ordered structure 
that provides 
strength. Stress 
tests confirmed 
that the material 
can be com- 
pressed until it is 
half as thick and 
then rebound to 
its original shape. 
The researchers 
(in a collabora- 
tion of the 
University of 
California, Irvine; 
HRL Laboratories; 
and California 
Institute of 
Technology) say 
the material 
could be used for 
battery electrodes 
or to absorb 
vibration or 
shock energy in 
microelectronics. 

- ALEX HUTCHINSON 




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6500 flight hour 



AT ABOUT 2 AM, ROBERT 
ENTERS THE COCKPIT AFTER 
A BREAK BUT LEAVES BONIN 
IN CONTROL. 



Pierre-Cedn c Bomn, 32, 
first officer: 2900 fLiqht 



THE LEAST SEASONED 
PILOT HELMS THE PLANE 
DURING MOST OF ITS FINAL 
MINUTES. 



% \ 




. tZ 9 



Captain's 
side stick 




Marc Dubois, 58, captain; 
11-000 f Liaht hours. 



WITH THE CRISIS UNDER WAY, 
HE RETURNS TO THE COCKPIT 
AFTER A BREAK BUT ELECTS 
NOT TO TAKE CONTROL OF 
THE AIRCRAFT. 



WHAT WENT WRONG 



The Final Minutes 

AIR FRANCE 447'S COCKPIT RECORDINGS PROVIDE DEFINITIVE DETAILS OF THE CRASH. BY JEFF WISE 



The crash of Air France Flight 447 has remained 
a mystery since it occurred over the mid-Atlantic 
in the early hours of June 1, 2009. As PM found 
in our cover story ("Anatomy of a Plane Crash," 
December 2009), the available data implied that 
the Airbus A330-200's airspeed sensors had iced 
up, leading to a chain of errors that cost 228 
lives. Now a fuller picture has emerged with the 
publication in France of Erreurs de Pilotage: Tome 
5 (Altipresse, 2011) by pilot and aviation writer 
Jean-Pierre Otelli. The book includes the 
transcript of the pilots' final words— which leave 
little doubt that human error caused the tragedy. 
The transcript here (in yellow, edited for space) 
is followed by our analysis. The times listed in 
black are in coordinated universal time. 



BBBHB3 (Bon in) Let's go for the anti-icing system. 
Its better than nothing. 

Flying through clouds at 35,000 feet, the pilots discuss 
turning on a system to try to keep ice off the sensors and 
flight-control surfaces. They do not. Ice reduces aero- 
dynamic efficiency, adds weight, and, in rare cases, can 
cause a crash. After fixing an incorrect radar setting, 
Robert notices that the plane is headed into an area of 
unexpertedly intense storms. 

BBBflRH (Robert) You can possibly pull it a little to 
the left. 
t^T^M (Bon in) Sorry, what? 

I (Robert) You can possibly pull it a little to the 



left. We're agreed that we're in manual, yeah? 

Bonin banks the plane left and then asks Robert if he should 
turn on a feature to prevent icing in the engines. He does. 
Then an alarm sounds: The autopilot is switching off because 
the planes external airspeed sensors, called pitot tubes, 
have iced over. Neither Bonin nor Robert has been trained to 
fl^heairalane in such conditions. 
BBHBBH (Bonin) I have the controls. 



ABOVE: The cockpit of an Airbus A330-200. 



22 MARCH 2012 I P0PULARMECHANICS.COM 



PHOTOGRAPH BY SAM CHUI 



TECH WATCH 




In an attempt to avoid the storms ahead, Bonin pulls 
back on the side stick to put the airplane into a steep climb. 
A warning chime indicates that Air France 447 is leaving its 
planned altitude. "If he's going straight and level and he's 
got no airspeed [data], I don't know why he'd pull back/' 
says Chris Nutter, an airline pilot and flight instructor. The 
logical thing for the co-pilots to do would be to compare 
airspeed data, a procedure called a cross-check. Instead, 
Bonin puts the airplane at risk of an aerodynamic stall. If an 
airplane flies too slowly or too steeply, the wings stop 
generating lift and the airplane starts to lose altitude. 
Climbing is risky because an airplane's wings generate less 
lift where the air is thinner. 

KHEWH3 (Bonin) There's no good. . . there's no good 
speecNndication. 

BBR3R3 (Robert) We've lost the, the, the speeds then? 
"me plane is climbing at a blistering 6700 feet per minute, 
but its forward airspeed slows to a mere 93 knots. As the 
aircraft climbs, a stall alert— a synthesized voice calling 
"stall, stall"— sounds. AF447's co-pilots fail to do what all 
pilots are trained to do when at risk of a stall— push the 
controls forward so the plane will level out and gain speed. 
In fact, Bo nin inexplicably keeps pulling bock on the stick. 
BHH3B3 (Robert) Wing anti-ice. 
The co-pilots activate the other anti-icing system; 
almost immediately, one of the pitot tubes begins to 
work. The cockpit displays once again show valid 
speed information. 

I (Robert) Descend! 
(Bonin) Here we go, we're descending. 
&'*&&&$ (Robert) Gently! 
Bonin keeps pulling back on the stick, but with less force. 
The plane reaches 223 knots as its climb becomes less 
steep. The stall warning falls silent. For a moment, the crew 
is in control of the airplane. Robert pushes a button to 
summon t he captain. 

EHEKfffl (Robert) Damn it, where is he? 
The plane is now within its acceptable altitude envelope. 
But Bonin again pulls back hard on the stick, raising the nose 
of the plane and bleeding speed. The synthesized voice again 
alerts the m to a stall. 
EBW3EJ] (Robert) Damn it! 

Another pitot tube begins to function. The cockpit's avionics 
are now all working normally; the flight crew has all the 
information that they need to fly safely. The stall that occurs 
from this point forward is due to human error. 

The Airbus is a fly-by-wire plane, meaning the control 
inputs from the cockpit are fed to a flight-control computer, 
which in turn commands actuators that move the ailerons, 
the rudder, and the elevator. The vast majority of the time, 
the computer operates within what's known as normal law, 
which means that the computer will not enact any control 
movements that would cause the plane to leave its flight 
envelope. The flight-control computer under normal law will 
not allow an aircraft to stall, aviation experts say. 

But once AF447's computer had lost its airspeed 
data, it disconnected the autopilot and switched from 
normal law to "alternate law," a regime with far fewer 
restrictions on what a pilot can do. Bonin may have 
assumed that the stall warning was spurious because 
he didn't realize that the plane had removed its own 
restrictions against stalling. 



PITCH: 




LETHAL EQUATION: AF447 is traveling at 100 knots; the 
co-pilots have its nose pitched up 15 degrees. This posture does 
not generate enough lift, so the airliner descends 10,000 feet per 
minute, the air crossing the wings at a 41.5-degree angle. If the 
stick were released, the nose would fall, leveling out the plane and 
allowing it to gain forward velocity and escape the stall. But since 
the co-pilot holds back the side stick, the nose remains high and 
the plane lacks the necessary forward speed for the controls to 
work. The airliner maintains this position until it crashes. 




ftJjWJMcl (Bonin) I'm in TOGA, huh? 

TOGA is an acronym for Take Off, Go Around. When a plane 
is taking off or aborting a landing— going around"— it must 
gain both speed and altitude as efficiently as possible. 
At this critical phase of flight, pilots are trained to increase 
engine speed to the TOGA level and raise the nose to a 
certain pitch angle. Bonin seems to be trying to achieve the 
same effect: He wants to increase speed and climb away 
from danger. But the airplane is now in thin air at 38,000 
feet, where the engines generate less thrust and the wings 
less lift. In these conditions, raising the nose does not 
result in the same angle of climb. The plane is at its 
maximum altitude. 

EEBHEEI (Robert) We still have the engines! What the 
hell is happening? I don't understand what's happening. 
Even with engines at full power, with the nose pitched up, 
the aircraft's forward motion halts. AF 447 begins to sink 
toward the ocean. 



K. 



Robert has no idea that, despite their conversation 
about descending, Bonin has continued to pull back 
on the side stick. Unlike the control yokes of a Boeing 
jetliner, the side sticks on an Airbus are "asynchro- 
nous"— that is, they move independently 'If the 
person in the right seat is pulling back on the side 
stick, the person in the left seat doesn't feel it," says 
David Esser, a professor of aeronautical science at 
Embry^Riddle Aeronautical University "One stick 
doesn 't move just because the other one does. " 



ILLUSTRATION BY MERCE IGLESIAS 



POPULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 23 



TECH WATCH 




JUNE 2009: CRASH 

('Anatomy of a Plane Crash/ 
Popular Mechanics, December 
2009) Air France Flight 447 
disappears. Investigators rely 
on floating debris and automated 
maintenance messages. 



JULY 2009 TO APRIL 2011: 
UNDERWATER SCANS 

French authorities use a military 
submarine and autonomous 
underwater robots to search the 
seafloor for wreckage. They find 
it in April. 



MAY 2011: BLACK BOXES 
RETRIEVED (Plumbing the 
Depths of Disaster"; Tech Watch, 
PM, July 2011) Investigators 
deploy a diving robot to fetch 
AF 447's black boxes. 



OCTOBER 2011: 
TRANSCRIPT OF THE COCK- 
PIT RECORDER RELEASED 

Author Jean-Pierre Otelli 
publishes the full transcript of 
the flight crew's final moments. 
The release sparks a debate 
over the way pilots are trained 
to react if an airplane's 
autopilot fails. 




flEffUcR (Bon in) Damn it, I don't have control of 
the plane, I don't have control of the plane at all! 

If Bonin were to let go of the controls, the nose would 
fall and the plane would regain forward speed. But 
because he is holding the stick all the way back, the 
nose remains high and the aircraft has little forward 
speec^ie stall continues. 
BCTTfffl (Dubois) What the hell are you doing? 
A minute and a half after the crisis began, the captain 
returns to the cockpit. The stall warnings are 
blaring. But from his seat, Dubois is unable to infer 
from the instrument displays why the plane is behaving 
as it is— because Bonin has been holding the side 
stick all the way back. No one has told Dubois, and 
he hasn't thought to ask. He does not order the less 
experienced co-pilot to get up so he can take control. 
"They were probably experiencing some pretty wild 
gyrations/' Esser says. "In a condition like that, he 
might not necessarily want to make the situation 
worse by having one of the crew members actually 
disengage and stand up." 

VTSttSk (Bonin) We've lost control of the plane! 
Though the pitot tubes are now fully functional, the 
forward airspeed is so low that the angle-of-attack inputs 
are no longer accepted as valid and the stall-warning 
temporarily stops. This may give the pilots the impression 
that their situation is improving, when in fact it signals 
JusUhereverse. 

Y&BfBfl (Robert) What do you think? What do you 
think? What should we do? 



EEffHBB (Dubois) Well, I don't know! We're going down, 



As the plane is tossed by turbulence, the captain 
urges Bonin to level the wings— advice that does 
nothing to address the main stall problem. The men 
briefly discuss whether they are in fact climbing or 
descending, before agreeing that they are indeed 
descending. No one mentions the word "stall" 



^ (Robert) Climb . . . climb . . . climb . . . climb . 
S (Bonin) But I've had the stick back the 



02:13:42 
02:13:43 



whole time! 

At last, Bonin reveals the crucial fact. 

I (Dubois) No, no, no... Don't climb ...no, no. 

I (Robert) Descend, then . . . Give me the 
controls . . . Give me the controls! 

Bonin yields the controls, and Robert puts the nose down. 
The plane descends at a precipitous angle. As it nears 2000 
feet, sensors detect the fast-approaching surface and 
trigger a new alarm. There is no time left to build up speed 
by pushing the plane's nose forward into a dive. At any rate, 
without warning his colleagues, Bonin regains the controls 
anc^gain pulls his side stick all the way back. 
BESEBBH (Robert) Damn it, we're going to crash . . . 
This can' t be happening! 
tS^H (Bonin) But what's happening? 
fwfSffh (Dubois) Ten degrees of pitch . . . 
The cockpit voice recordings stop 1.4 seconds later, pm 



i 



24 MARCH 2012 I POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



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The house will always have 
its issues. Incontinent water 
heaters. Slow drains. Drafty 
windows. But out back, the 
rules are different. The garden is 
designed to fail every fall, to lie 
frozen and dormant and to wait 
until just about now to wake up 
for another glorious season. Get 
a head start on it— sharpen your 
tools, take a chance on exotic 
seeds, and be ready, once your 
frozen rock of a yard thaws out, 
to nurture the first thrilling 
bursts of green shoots. 

-HARRY SAWYERS 



Secrets of 
Shovel Selection 

1. In time, most shovels break at 
the link between the head and 
stick, or handle. A good tool's 
socket extends from the blade 
deep into the stick, with twin 
rivetsjto hold the connection. 
Six busted rakes we saw last 
fall had heads separated from 
intact fiberglass sticks— 
that's rivet failure. 

2. Look for a closed, gusseted 
socket on the underside of 
the blade. This makes soil less 
likely to collect inside the tool. 

3. Buy only tools with ''tempered" 
stamped on the steel. 

It signals heat-treated, high- 
carbon, tough metal. You can't 
temper the low-carbon stuff. 



■ 



Bold Digger 

Steps as fat as pogo-stick 

pegs help this shovel's 

serrated blade dig into dirt, 

not the soles of your boots. 





:y burcu avsar 



POPULARMECHANICS.COM I MARCH 2012 27 



1 




HEIRLOOM 
CARRIER 

Craftsman Chris 
Hughes hammers 
copper burr rivets 
on an anvil in his 
Omaha, Neb v shop 
to make tough, 
multifunctional 
sacks like the 
Artifact Bag No. 
1 75 Tool/Garden 
Tote ($155). He 
works 16-hour 
days to cut and 
stitch the 
rust-colored 
waxed canvas 
bags. "When you 
love what you're 
doing, it's worth 
it," he says. What 
we love is that this 
bag will endure for 
generations. 



Serrated - 

blade 



KING OF THE LOAD 

♦ The prominent USA stamp 
on the head shows that this is 
one proud tool, and with good 
reason . The Craftsman 
D-Handled Digging Shovel 
($30) has a rugged) tempered- 
steel head with a deep socket 
riveted to its fiberglass stick, 
a midhandle cushion for a solid 
grip, a soil-slicing serrated 
Blade edge, and a step with 
the footing of a ladder rung. 
Stomp down on the step to 
plunge into the earth, orjust^ 
stand on it, balancing, as if it's 
a single stilt. Can you dig it? 



Garden Labor Savers 



1. Wrap tool handles with grip tape 
to minimize blisters and fatigue. 

2. In cool, early-season weather, shroud 
plants in insulating skirts cut from 
sheets of 1.5-mm plastic. For added 
insulation, seek out the Kozy-Coats 
Plant Protector. Its water-filled walls 
help heat-loving peppers thrive all 
summer in cool climates. 

3. Set corncobs in the yard to steer 
squirrels away from the garden. 



Moke Your Dirt Yield a Bounty With 

Fresh Garden Gear 

Winter's getting ready to scram, so it's a good time to gather new 
tools and strategize for the upcoming growing season. Collect a few of 
these implements of mass cultivation and you II be ready to start tossing 
soil and placing seedlings in the ground just as soon as it thaws. 

BY FIONA GILSENAN 



DIGGER AND 
DAGGER 

-> A multipurpose garden 
knife like the GrowTech 
Hori-Hori ($30), 

a Japanese tool with 
a name that translates 
as "dig-dig," can weed, 
plant, and cut sod. The 
serrated edge saws 
open soil sacks, and 
the curved steel blade 
scoops dirt out. 




FASTENER FOR FOLIAGE 

Torn and flapping row covers let 
parasitic cabbage loopers infiltrate the 
veggies. Secure garden fabrics along 
with rope or wire with grommet-like 
Lee Valtey Multi-Purpose Fabric Clips 
($5 for 10). The teeth twist and lock to 
snap and stay in place. 



28 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



PHOTOGRAPHS BY BURCU AVSAR 



UPGRADE 



SHARPENER DELUXE 

si/ Dull pruner blades cause splintery cuts that are slow to heal. Keep 'em keen (or fix 
damaged edges) with the Swiss-made Felco Istor Duplex Ultimate Sharpener ($47). 
The tool's curved blade sharpens shears, scissors, and knives. A straight grinder handles 
heavier blades, such as those on mowers and hoes. 



THE OZARKS' FINEST HOE 

-> Crafted by Missouri Mennonites, 
the 60-inch-handled Rogue Hoe 57 5g 
($30) is the best-selling hoe among the 
40 models made by hand from tough, 
tempered-steel agricultural disc blades. 
This one is S 3 A x 2 inches, and widths 
range from 2>£ to 10 inches. Triangular 
weed-clearing scuffle hoes, foot-long 
hand hoes, and adze-like firefighter's 
hoes make up the product line. "I've 
never held a hoe like this in my life," 
distributor Larry Pierce says. 




£ 




Name 
That Seed 

QUESTION: 

All 10 of the seeds 
listed below are actual 
names of heirloom 
varieties available in 
the Seed Savers 
Exchange catalog. 
Honest. But only one 
of them grows up to be 
a bean. Which is it? 

• summer crookneck 

• turkey craw 

• cream sausage 

• bloody butcher 

• red leprechaun 

• clemson spineless 

• amish deer tongue 

• turk's turban 

• minnesota midget 

• hillbilly potato leaf 



ANSWER; 

The turkey craw is 
an heirloom bean with 
attractive tan flecks. 
Legend has it that 
the original seed was 
found in a wild 
turkey's craw. Gobble 
some up for yourself. 



Plants vs Zombies 

Mobilize peashooters, 
cherry bombs, gloom- 
shrooms, and lawnmowers 
to deal with the scourge 
of gardeners everywhere— 
zombies— in this quirky 
home-defense game. 



Dirrs Tree and 
Shrub Finder 

Tree and shrub guru 
Michael Dirr condensed his 
famed encyclopedia into an 
expansive, easy-to-navigate 
app that weighs (and costs) 
less than the print version. 



Bugs in the Garden 

Identify North American 
garden pests with the help 
of clear illustrations of 
common culprits as adults 
and larvae, then learn 
strategies for management 
and damage assessment. 



POPULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 29 



UPGRADE 



ABUSIVE LAB TEST 



Tape Measures 




or years, Stanleys 25-foot FatMax has been the reigning 
champ of job-site tape measures. But l-Mark's new 16-footer, 
with an inked tip, can mark a measurement without a pencil. 
Plus, Johnson's 25-foot Stud-Squared has two sliding gauges 
to assist layout tasks. We checked to see how the challengers 
measure up to the black-and-gold standard, bydougmahoney 




O Johnson Stud-Squared ($17) 



" As washers piled up, the strength of the 
tapes 7 locks grew more impressive. We 
realized that to conduct a truly abusive 
test, we'd better get a bigger bucket. 



Standout Challenge 

Standout, the length a tape can extend 
without bending, helps hook hard-to-reach 
objects. We unfurled each tape five times 
until failure and averaged the distance. 

fathax: (139 inches) The extra-wide 
and deeply concave tape displayed the 
structural integrity of an I-beam. It crushed 
the competition in this category, 
i -mark: (65 inches) "me thin tape of the 
l-Mark meant less support. It stood out to 
less than half the distance of the FatMax. 
stud-squared: (90 inches) Still short 
compared with Stanley, but the standout 
of 7V& feet reaches far enough to meet 
most measurement needs. 

Weight Check 

To test the strength of the tab and the lock, 
we hung the locked tapes from 2 x4s and 
suspended 0.43-ounce washers off the tool 
bodies until they collapsed. All three tapes' 
locks failed before the tabs broke off. 

fatmax: (124 washers) The cup filled 
up with a total of 3 pounds, 5 ounces in 
washer weight— a solid showing, 
i -mark: (271 washers) This tape held 
a load of 7 pounds, 4 ounces. You could 
suspend a newborn child from this tape 
and still take an accurate measurement! 
stud-squared: (60 washers) Talk about 
a limp handshake— the Stud-Squared's 
grip quit at under 2 pounds. 

Drop Test 

On a job site, tape measures are dropped 
as often as cigarette butts. To test the 
tapes' durability, we dropped them onto 
asphalt at 5-foot increments, up to 25 feet 

fatmax: After falls of 5, 10, 15, 20, 
and 25 feet, the FatMax showed only scuff 
marks. We actually heard it laughing at us. 
i - m a r k : The 15-foot drop blew off the 
ink pad and damaged the tab. At 20 feet, 
the shell split At 25 feet, a screw head 
popped out. But the l-Mark kept working. 
stud-squared : At 15 feet, something 
broke inside. The tool rattled like a maraca. 
At 25 feet, the mechanism gave out 
completely and the tape stopped working. 



The FatMax is the toughest, but it doesn't 
have bells or whistles. The full-featured 
Stud-Squared was also the most fragile. 
A tape measure is a precision tool, but it 
takes a licking. The key when choosing one 
is to balance functionality and durability. 



30 MARCH 2012 I POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



PHOTOGRAPHS BY BURCU AVSAR 



SAVE When You Grow 



A Zoysia Lawn 



From 
Plugs 




To A 

Fabulous 

Lawn 



WTHK 



FARM 



NURSERIES 

proving America's Lawns Since 1953 



Zoysia Lawns are 
thick, dense and lush! 



GRASS SEED WILL NEVER GROW A LAWN LIKE THIS! 



Save Water! Save Time! Save Work! 






Zoysia thrives in 

partial shade to 

full sun! 



Grass Seed Is 
For The Birds! 

Stop wasting money, time 

and work sowing new grass I 

seed each spring, only 

to see birds eat the seed - 

or rain wash it away - 

before it can root Plant a 

genuine Amazoy™ Zoysia 

lawn from our living Plugs 

only once... and never plant a new lawn again! 

Zoysia Grows Where 
Other Grass Doesn't! 

Zoysia is the perfect choice for hard-to-cover spots, 
areas that are play-worn or have partial shade, and 
for stopping erosion on slopes. North, South, East, 
West - Zoysia will grow in any soil, no ifs, ands or buts! 



Each Zoysia Plug You Plant In Your Soil Is 

GUARANTEED TO GROW 

Within 45 Days Or We'll Replace It FREEI 



To ensure best results, we ship you living sheets of genuine 
Amazoy™ Zoysia Grass, harvested direct from our farms. Plugs are 
not cut all the way through. Before planting, simply finish the 
separation by cutting T'-sq. Plugs with shears or knife. Then follow 
the included easy instructions to plant Plugs into small plug holes 
about a foot apart. Our guarantee and planting method are your 
assurance of lawn success backed by more than 5 decades of 
specialized lawn experience, 



Eliminates Endless 
Weeds And Weeding! 

No more pulling out weeds by hand or weeds 
sprouting up all over your lawn. Zoysia Plugs spread 
into a dense, plush, deep-rooted, established lawn 
that drives out unwanted growth and stops crab- 
grass and summer weeds from germinating. 

Environmentally Friendly, 
No Chemicals Needed! 

No weeding means no chemicals. You'll never 
have to spray poisonous pesticides and weed 
killers again! Zoysia lawns are safer for the 
environment, as well as for family and pets! 

Cuts Watering & Mowing 
By As Much As 2/3! 

Many established 
Zoysia lawns only 
need to be 
mowed once or 
twice a season. 
Watering is rarely, 
if ever, needed - 
even in summer! 




Save Money! 

Stays Green In Summer 
Through Heat & Drought! 

When ordinary lawns brown up in summer heat and 
drought, your Zoysia lawn stays green and beautiful. 
The hotter it gets, the better it grows. Zoysia thrives 
in blistering heat (120 °), yet it won't winter-kill to 30° 
below zero. It only goes off its green color after killing 
frosts, but color returns with consistent spring 
warmth. Zoysia is the perfect choice for water 
restrictions and drought areas! 

Our Customers Love 
Their Zoysia Lawns! 

One of our typical customers, Mrs. M.R. Mitter of 
PA, wrote how "I've never watered it, only when 

1 put the Plugs in... Last summer we had it mowed 

2 times... When everybody's lawns here are brown 
from drought, ours just stays as green as ever!" 

Order Now And Save! 

The more Amazoy™ Zoysia Plugs you order, the more 
you SAVE! And remember, once your Zoysia lawn is 
established, you'll have an endless supply of new Plugs 
for planting wherever you need them. Order now! 



Meyer Zoysia Grass was perfected by 
the U.S. Gov't, released in cooperation with 
the U.S. Golf Association as a superior grass. 



FREE! 



PLANTING 
TOOL 

With Order of 400 Plugs or More! 
©201 2 Zoysia Farm Nurseries, 3617 Old Taneytown Rd, Taneytown, MD 21 787 WWW.Zoysia FarmS.COm/mag I ' ° ° ' 

Order Your ZOYSIA Plugs Now — Harvested Daily From Our Farms And Shipped To You Direct! 



ZOYSIA GRASS SUPER SALE — SAVE OVER 50%! 
Get Up To 900 Plugs — FREE! 



Please send me guaranteed Amazoy as checked: 



# PLUGS 


+ FREE Plugs 


FREE Bonus 


Retail Value 


Your PRICE 


+ Shipping 


SAVINGS 


100 


- 


- 


$ 8.95 


$ 8.95 


S5.00 


- 


200 


+ 100 


- 


$ 26.85 


$17.90 


$5.00 


30% 


400 


+ 200 


Free 

Step-on Plugger 


$ 62.65 


$35.80 


$7.50 


40% 


500 


+ 300 


Free 

Step-on Plugger 


$ 80.55 


$44.75 


$10.00 


42% 


600 


+ 400 


Free 

Step-on Plugger 


$ 98.45 


$53.70 


$12.50 


44% 


900 


+ 700 


Free Amazoy 
Power Auger 


$168.15 


$80.55 


$15.00 


50% 


1000 


+ 900 


Free Amazoy 
Power Auger 


$195.00 


$89.50 


$17.50 


54% 


Extra Step-on Plugger $8.95 + $3 Shipping Extra Amazoy Power Auger™ for 3/8" Drill $24.95 + $5 Shipping 



Mail to: ZOYSIA FARM NURSERIES 

3617 Old Taneytown Road, Taneytown, MD 21787 



Dept.5910 



Write price of order here $- 
Md. residents add 6% tax S - 
Shipping $- 

ENCLOSED TOTAL $- 

Card # 

Name, 



Payment method 
(check one) 
Check M0 
MasterCard 
Visa 
_Exp. Date 





Address 


City 




State 


Zip 


Phone 





We ship all orders the same day plugs are packed at earliest correct planting time in your area. 

J3hfttt£ Order Now! www.ZoysiaFarms.com/mag u*m «■**. usa „ M>m. or 




NEWTYPEOFBOOK 

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and expert explanations with galleries for planet 

Earth and its surrounding space. Available as; 

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P0PULARMECHANICS.COM I MARCH 2012 33 



2012 Ferrari 45S Spider 

* base price $258,000 

ENGINE 

4.5-Liter V-8; 570 hp, 

398 Ib-ft 

TRANSMISSION 

seven-speed duaL-cLutch 

automated manual 

0-T0-60 

3.3 seconds (est.) 

BRAKES 

four-wheel 

carbon—ceramic discs 



OFF-ROADER + BMW 3 SERIES + 
CAMARO ZL1 + FUTURE INFOTAINMENT 



New Cars 



w 



/ 



START SAVING 






RTi 



wo years ago, Ferrari's 458 
Italia set new standards in the 
midengined supercar stakes; 
now the Spider aims to do the same in 
the super-convertible market. The 
two-piece aluminum roof is far better 
than a fabric top at insulating the 
cockpit, but when lowered— electri- 
cally, of course— the metal panels 
nestle over the engine bay. Thus, for 
the Spider, Ferrari canned the 
transparent engine cover that's one of 
the 458's fetching details. The roof, its 
mechanism, and body reinforcements 






add about 110 pounds to the 
3300-pound coupe, but the Spider 
remains as sharp and quick as its 
closed-roof sibling. In normal motoring 
(if such a thing can be done in a Ferrari), 
there's none of the obvious structural 
deficiencies that plague other 
roadsters. We'd scratch to buy this car 
just to listen to the V-8's howl, but the 
engine also urgently hustles the Spider 
to stunning velocities. Objectively and 
subjectively, the Spider ticks all the 
boxes. And at about $258,000, it 

Should. - ANDREW ENGLISH 



34 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



ewCars test drives 



O 4x4x4 



Joining the burgeoning 
side-by-side market is 
the Kawasaki Teryx4, 
a surprisingly brash, 
powerful 0.75-liter 
V-twin-powered four-seat 
off-roader wearing the 
stance of a golf cart crossed 
with a Humvee. Kawasaki 
spent the past few years 
cruising the forums and 
found that owners of its 
popular two-seater Teryx 
were hacking up the cargo 
tray to fit a pair of bucket 
seats— or milk crates— for 
extra passengers. So the 
company stepped up and 



joined Polaris in the 
four-seat side-by-side genre. 
The new centrifugal clutch 
and CVT automatic transmis- 
sion are mated to a 
pushbutton 4WD system 
with locked rear and 
electronically locking front 
differentials, so the Teryx4 
can shuffle up impressively 
steep inclines. And with its 
narrow width, the dirt 
cruiser weaves through the 
smallest openings. But 
beware of top speed: It can 
almost hit an unsettling, 
unstable 50 mph. 
- ANDY DIDOROSi 




HEEZS 

Subaru XV Crosstrek 
$19,000 (est.) 





CROSSING OVER 




2012 

Kawasaki Teryx4 
$13,999 



When Subaru introduced the 2012 Impreza, the former Outback 
Sport model was notable for its absence from Subaru's new lineup. 
Next fall, though, we'll see the Outback's replacement, the Impreza- 

based XV Crosstrek. Designed to 
compete in the compact-crossover 
segment with vehicles like the Hyundai 
Tucson, Ford Escape, and Honda CR-V, 
the Crosstrek is essentially a lifted 
Impreza. It sports more ground 
clearance (8.6 inches) and suspension 
travel, yet shares the Impreza's 
powertrain options— a 2.0-liter boxer 
four with either a five-speed manual 
transmission or a CVT. European 
markets started seeing the new model 
in January, and we drove Euro-spec 
versions around Florence and Tuscany. 
With only 148 hp on tap and wearing 
snow tires for December driving, the 
XV wasn't thrilling despite the inspir- 
ing Mille Miglia mountain back roads, 
but it proved more than adequate for 
urban and freeway use. The XV's 
strength is its standard all-wheel drive, 
at a base price that Subaru says will be 
under 20 grand. But it also shares 
virtues of the new Impreza: improved 
build quality, fit and finish, fuel 
economy (expect mid-20s in the city 
and low 30s on the highway, depending 
on the transmission), and interior 
room. Those will serve it well in the 
lately hyper-competitive segment. 

- KEVIN WILSON 



r 



SRT 



All we know about the next Dodge 
Viper, except that it will be ludicrously 
fast and built in Detroit, is that it won't 
be a Dodge. It'll be the first vehicle 
of the new SRT brand and simply 
dubbed the SRT Viper. More SRT 
models will follow. 



38 



The mpg performance above which 
"you're pulling teeth to achieve," 
says GM'sJim Federico, product 
development head for small and 
electric cars, with regard to a vehicle's 
fuel efficiency. 



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36 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



New Cars test drives 



THREEPEAT 



BMW's new 3 Series looks a lot better in person than in pictures, but fans might be 
dismayed to hear that the previously standard, stirring, and silky inline six-cylinder 
engine has been replaced by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 1-4 (the straight six, with 
turbocharging, remains an option). The four-cylinder's ample power (245 hp), 

however, along with sophisticated 
exhaust sounds and greater fuel 
economy (36 highway mpg, estimated) 
ought to quash any discontent. Along 
with the slick six-speed manuals we love 
so much in BMWs, there is an eight- 
speed automatic available with a gear for 
every situation. It shifts quickly and 
smoothly, has steering-column paddle 
shifters for manual override, and 
downshifts to the tune of rev-matching 
throttle blips. A switch to electro- 
mechanical steering assist has done 
little to harm the car's famously surgical 
steering precision, and available 
adjustable shocks help adapt the car to 
different driving environments. Space 
inside has been increased by a 2-inch 
wheelbase stretch. And the new 3 carries 
a host of technological assets: active- 
headlight control, Bluetooth-linked apps, 
a color heads-up display, and auto stop- 
start. You can even open the trunk by 
performing a kicking motion beneath 
the rear bumper. Best of all, the new 
upscale interior is now worthy of the 
$35,795 base price. - barry winfield 





3 



The number of lines, according to Jaguar 
design chief Ian Galium, that define a 
car's shape. The three lines include 
the arc of the roof and one from the top 
of each fender as the lines curve into 
the car's flank. Galium should know; he 
penned the stunning Jaguar C-X16. 



560° C 



The temperature at which GM bakes a 
coating of nitrogen and carbon onto 
brake rotors. The layer reduces surface 
rust, which lessens the chance of 
brake-disc shudder and increases rotor 
life. The new rotors are standard on a 
handful ofBuicks and Chevys. 



r 


F FflJM 

BMW 3 Series 
L $35,795 


Wtfw 

Mercedes-Benz C63AMG Coupe Black Series 
$125,000 (est.) 



O UPPER-CRUST RACING 

The Laguna Seca 
raceway was a 
perfect patch of 
curvy asphalt on which to 
test the 2012 Mercedes- 
Benz C63 AMG Coupe Black 
Series. With views of 
California's central coast, it's 
an automotive playground 
for people of means, much 
as the Black Series Coupe is 
a barely legal racing 
plaything for the deep- 
pocketed. The most 
powerful C-Class coupe ever 
built has a 517-hp V-8 with 
457 Ib-ft of torque. Fitted 
with the optional Dunlop 
racing slicks, this machine 
gallops to 60 mph in just 4.2 



seconds. The car isn't a 
straight-line special, though. 
It's about getting as close to 
a race-car experience— tena- 
cious grip, powerful brakes, 
and ferocious thrust— as 
possible without donning a 
flame-retardant suit. A set of 
deep bucket seats, 
selectable traction control 
that steps in only when 
you're headed into the 
weeds, incredible steering 
feedback, and a lusty 
exhaust note combine for a 
fantastic out-of-the-box— but 
ritzy— $125,000 track toy. 
Check the next page for a 
more reasonably priced 

option. — BEN WOJDYLA 




P0PULARMECHANICS.COM 




BASE PRICE 


$54,995 


POWERTRAIN 


580 hp, 556 Lb-ft 




supercharged 6.2-Liter 




V-8/6M 


SUSPENSION (FRONT/REAR) 


Independent strut/ 




muLtiLink, coi L springs 


WHEELBASE (IN.) 


112.3 


LENGTH (IN.) 


190.4 


WEIGHT (LB) 


4088 


BRAKES (FRONT/REAR) 


14.6-in. disc/14. 4-in. 




disc, ABS, ESC 


TIRES (FRONT/REAR) 


P285/35ZR20 




P305/35ZR20 


ACCELERATION (SEC) 




0-30 MPH 


1.96 


0-60 MPH 


4.49 


0-100 MPH 


9.87 


40-70 MPH 


2.86 


QUARTER-MILE 


12.57 a 113.87 mph 


BRAKING (FT) 




30-0 MPH 


25.71 


60-0 MPH 


107.78 


SKIDPAD (G'S) 


0.98 


EPA FUEL ECONOMY 




CITY 


14 


HIGHWAY 


22 



The ZLl's headline-grabbing figure is 580 hp, which, admittedly, is a completely addictive amount of 
giddyup to have under your right foot. But focusing on the power overlooks the fact that the ZLl is probably 
the first Camaro in history to turn better than it sprints. For this top-end version of the Camaro, GM 
engineers added not just an engine supercharger, but also numerous chassis upgrades. The key bits are four 
adjustable shocks that automatically firm up to lend a rather stunning combination of precise feel and 
predictable handling. Here's how we know: Approaching a gentle but very fast right-hand kink at Arizona's 
Inde Motorsports Ranch, we cut the corner just a touch too tight, dropping the right-side wheels into a hole 
next to the track surface. At 100 mph, that's the sort of mistake that can turn ugly instantly. The ZLl, 
however, bounced out of the hole, immediately regained composure, and carried on as if we'd nailed the 
turn. Thanks, partner. With coolers for nearly every mechanical system, dinner-plate-size brakes, and 
grippy tires, the ZLl stayed sharp through repeated laps. A heads-up display projects a tachometer and shift 
lights onto the windshield so your eyes stay where they're needed— on the road. Chevy also installed a new 
steering wheel and shifter, with far more comfortable contours than before. Speaking of comfort, those 
shocks also soften, so the on-road ride is firm but passable. There's only one thing we'd change: the exhaust 
sound. The Camaro's burble is a far cry from a Malibu's, but it should have a more righteous bark. The ZLl 
deserves to swagger. - larry webster 



EcoBoost: 
Incredible power. 
Amazing fuel economy. 

What's your 







IP 



*EPA-esti mated 16 city/22 hwy/18 combined mpg, 3.5L V6 4x2. 
Class is Full-Size Pickups under 8,500 lbs. GVWR, Non-Hybrid. 4x4 shown. 






F-150 with exclusive twin-turbocharged direct-injection 
EcoBoost technology* 365 hp. 420 Ib.-ft. torque. 22 mpg hwy. 

This is the future of truck 

THE 2012 F-150 

FORD.COM 



(JILT 

OUGH 







Fn*3 



* ^V^v 



40 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



New Cars electronics 



ILLUSTRATION BY PETRA STEFANKOVA 




THE MOBILE MESS 



WITH 

SMARTPHONE 
INTEGRATION 
AND INTERNET 
CONNECTIVITY, 
AUTOMAKERS 
ARE IN 
UNFAMILIAR 
TERRITORY- 
WITHOUT A MAR 
BY ANDREW DEL-COLLE 



ur phones and our 
cars are colliding. 
Despite the National 
Transportation 
Safety Board's recent 
call for a nationwide 
ban on in-car cell- 
phone use, car buy- 
ers are increasingly 
demanding smart- 
phone-style connec- 
tivity. And carmakers 
are scrambling to 
provide interactive 
systems that harness 
or imitate the fea- 
tures of popular handsets. These so-called 
infotainment systems, such as Ford's Sync 
and Toyota's Entune, have voice control 
and Internet connectivity, and they can run 
apps such as Pandora. In a world where 
quality engineering can be bought even in 
entry-level cars, infotainment systems are 
increasingly seen as a differentiator — but 
they have become a high-tech headache 
for automakers. 

"It's kind of a mess," says Roger Lane tot, 
a senior analyst at technology research firm 
Strategy Analytics. "Because all of these sys- 
tems are proprietary, it's expensive 
to deploy content app by app. They 
are also all brand-new, and they all 
work differently, so you have usabil- 
ity issues and glitches galore." 

THE TECHNOLOGY TRAP 

Arguably one of the most advanced 
infotainment systems on the market 
is Sync with MyFord Touch, available 



100000000000000] 



fy £ 




as an option on all of Ford's consumer models. Its capabilities are 
formidable: It has touch-sensitive, capacitive buttons; it can 
understand complex voice commands, make hands-free calls, 
read your text messages to you, run Pandora from connected 
smartphone devices, and give you turn-by-turn navigation. But for 
all of its sophistication, MyFord Touch has been criticized for 
being slow, cluttered, and confusing. The system is a big reason 
why Ford fell from fifth place to 23rd in J.D, Power's 2011 Initial 
Quality Study. Now Ford is sending out more than 300,000 USB 
drives to update it. Systems like MyFord Touch tap into the 
cellular-connection and data-processing power of smartphones 
for many of their functions, but deliver user interfaces that pale 
in comparison to those of the phones. All of which raises the 
question: Why don't automakers just use the phone operating 
systems in the first place? 

PHONING IT IN 

As it turns out, there are systems in development that can, to a 
degree, port your smartphone 's UI to your vehicle's screen. One 
such technology is Nokia's MirrorLink. Once the phone is 
connected to the car, MirrorLink essentially turns your dash- 
board display into a slightly modified version of your smart- 
phone screen — as long as the phone and the vehicle display are 
MirrorLink-capable. MirrorLink has some big backers, 
including Toyota, General Motors, Nokia, and LG and 
could start appearing in select vehicles and phones in the 
U.S. in the next couple of years, Lanctot says. But then 
again, it may not, since one company notably absent from 
the MirrorLink supporter list is Apple, the most influen- 
tial smartphone-maker in the world. 

But even if smartphones are superior to most factory- 
installed infotainment systems, that doesn't necessarily 
mean they are an ideal replacement. Andy Grye is the auto- 



P0PULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 41 




motive product manager at QNX, a software 
company that has provided the code for 
almost 30 million vehicles on the road. 
"You have an expectation of how an applica- 
tion behaves on your phone, with a small 
display and a ton of RAM," he says, "You're 
used to scrolling around through menus 
and pinching and zooming and all these 
things, and when you take that same dis- 
play and replicate it in the car, the experi- 
ence isn't the same." 

Systems such as MirrorLink also could 
exacerbate the nettlesome problem of 
driver distraction. When a carmaker creates 
its own interface, it can control the driving 
experience. But if the screen in the vehicle 
is essentially a pass-through to somebody 
else's software, that raises a big red liability 
flag. So automakers will want to tightly con- 
trol which apps and functions are allowed. 

Still, using the phone's interface could 
free carmakers from some of the fast-paced 
burdens of software development. Vehicles 
generally take years to design, while smart- 
phone operating systems and apps can be 
updated every few months. 

CUE THE FUTURE 

If MirrorLink is the answer, it's only a tem- 
porary one. According to Mike Hichme, 
engineering manager for Cadillac's Cue 
system, no car can be fully dependent on a 
phone, "[MirrorLink] is a feature; that's not 
the solution," he says. Automakers still 
need to design radio, HVAC, and other 
basic vehicle controls. No car company is 
willing to just hand off fundamental parts 
of the driving experience to a phone. 

Plus, it turns out that auto interfaces 
may be learning some smartphone tricks 
after all. Hichme' s Cue system, set to pre- 
miere in three models later this year, can 
run HTML5, the same software language 
behind powerful Web apps such as Gmail. 
HTML5 should make it easier for develop- 
ers to create apps that run across all plat- 
forms — which may ultimately neutralize 
the power struggle between smartphone 
and car. Still, HTML5 doesn't mean an app 
free-for-all. No one thinks playing Angry 
Birds in the car is wise, 

Unfortunately for automakers, none of 
this makes the decisions any easier. If a car 
is just beginning the production process, 
there's no one answer and no knowing 
where the industry will be three or four 
years from now. "It's just painful to have to 
make these decisions when things are 
changing too damn fast," Lanctot says, pm 



Ofiatmultiair 



ENGINE 

OFTHE 




Solenoids (in red 
on top of the valve) 
control the flow of 
pressurized oil to cycle 
the intake valves. 



E VALVES 



FIAT'S INGENIOUS SYS1 



Engines are like 

people: The harder they 
work, the more air 
they need to breathe, When 
an engine is revved high, 
like when accelerating on 
the highway, its valves must 
open wide and for long 
durations. Conversely at 
idle, that engine requires 
just a trickle of air to 
operate. Variable valve 
timing and lift systems 
continuously alter the way 
a valve operates, depending 
on engine speed and load, 
to increase fuel efficiency 
and power. These systems 
are becoming more 
common, but Fiat's Multiair 
is the most novel. It 
operates the intake valves 
with a unique system: 
Rather than using the cam 
lobe to press open the 
valve, the lobe pushes on 
the plunger of a tiny oil 



pump. The resultant 
pressure accumulates in a 
thimble-size chamber that 
feeds a computer-controlled 
solenoid (the valve 
"conductor")- When the 
solenoid is open, the oil 
pressure flows to the top of 
the valve, forcing it to open. 
The engine computer 
directs the solenoid and can 
vary the timing (when the 
valve opens in relation to 
the piston's movement), 
duration, and lift (how far 
the valve opens). With 
Multiair, the tiny 1.4-liter 
engine of the Fiat 500 
produces a gutsy 101 hp 
and a healthy amount of 
low-rpm torque. Also, since 
the system is simple and 
compact, it's not an 
expensive add-on. Expect 
Multiair to spread through 
Fiat's— and Chrysler's— 

lineup. - LARRY WEBSTER 



SPORTS PHYS 



Anatomy of Big Air 

> BY JEREMY REPANICH 

> PHOTOGRAPHS BY ADAM MORAN 




Once just crude wooden planks, 
snowboards have evolved into 
precisely engineered pieces of 
equipment. The core is composed 
of small wooden strips arranged to 
improve strength and flexibility. 
Because wood is strongest when 
bending with the grain, the strips 
near each end run parallel to the 
board's length, adding spring. In the 
center, the grain runs perpendicular 
so it flexes as the rider leans 
forward and back. Fiberglass and 
carbon fiber add strength, and a 
Teflon-infused epoxy reduces 
friction. At an event, techs hone a 
board's edges and bake wax into it 
overnight: On cold, dry days, when 
snow is icy, a hard wax is used; on 
warm, wet days, a softer wax 
applied with texture prevents 
suction. "The board base is 
absorbent/' Clark says. "The more 
it's waxed, the faster it gets." 



CLARK 


LAND! 


S AT 


45 DEGREES 


WITH 


JP TO 


600 


POUNDS OF 


FORCE- 


-MORE 


THAh 


J FOUR 


TIMES 


HER E 


30DY 


WEIGHT. 



;w 




THE PIPE 




The original half-pipes, built in the late 
'70s, were little more than creek beds 
that riders modified by shoveling snow. 
But with the invention of the Pipe 
Dragon— an excavator with a curved 
arm— in 1990, carving uniform pipes 
became easier. As riders pushed for 
bigger air, the excavators grew to cut 
larger pipes, progressing from 10- to 
12- to 18-foot-high walls and then 
22 feet, introduced in 2006. "The pitch 
of the 22-foot pipe is steeper, which 
allows you to carry more speed— it's 
enabled the progression we've seen in 
snowboarding," Clark says. "I don't want 
to go near an 18-foot pipe anymore." 




CLARK ROTATES 
AT 495 DEGREES 
PER SECOND. 



/"> 



• 3 



#> 



1: APPROACH 



In the pipe, riders can travel up to 
40 mph, but they have to fight the forces 
that sap speed. As Clark moves along the 
arc in the transition from flat bottom to 
vertical wall, centripetal force pushes her 
down. Harnessing that force adds speed, 
but if she buckles, Clark's body absorbs 
kinetic energy and slows down. As she 
approaches the pipe s transition— where 
centripetal force is the highest— Clark 
pumps her legs. This stiffens her body 
and causes her to exert more force on 
the ground, which, according to 
Newton's third law of motion, pushes 
back and boosts her speed. 



CLARK'S BOARD 
RECOILS FROM THE 
LIP WITH 4000 
NEWTONS OF FORCE. 



&t* 



2: LAUNCH fit FLIGHT 

"One of the biggest misconceptions is 
people liken it to a vertical jump," says 
Jon Turnbull, the winter performance 
program manager at the New Zealand 
Academy of Sport. If snowboarders 
jumped like basketball players, they'd fly 
away from the wall and toward the 
center of the pipe, instead of up above 
the lip. Clark generates height by 
rotating her body as she reaches the lip, 
which creates vertical velocity. Once in 
the air, she pulls her arms close to her 
body to increase rotation and spin in a 
fluid motion. "The more compact I am," 
she says, "the faster I spin." 




3: LANDING 



Clark spots her landing two-thirds through a trick. When landing, she must "'pull the 
chute'— you make yourself as big as you can to slow your rotation," she says. To 
maintain speed into the next trick, she reenters the pipe as high on the wall as 
possible while angling her board down the pipe to take advantage of its 18-degree 
pitch. When she lands, Clark must keep her body rigid; flexing her knees would absorb 
energy and decrease her speed. "She's maintaining her gravitational potential energy 
from a body of flight and changing it to kinetic energy," Turnbull says. PM 



POPULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 43 



FUTURE 



THE MILITARY 



The Winning Way 
to Trim the Pentagon 

> BY JOE PAPPALARDO 

> ILLUSTRATION BY DAN PAGE 











TAMING THE U.S. 
DEFENSE BUDGET 
REQUIRES CHANGING 
THE WAY AMERICA 
FIGHTS. 




HERE'S A BATTLE RAGING IN WASHINGTON, D.C., 

over the direction of the military. There are two key 
factors pushing and pulling the debate: emerging 
threats that demand responses and a $15 trillion 
deficit that must be reduced. These conflicting 
imperatives present great risks, but also represent a 
historic opportunity. 

America could come out of this process with a 
leaner, more flexible military — but only if cuts are 
made in tandem with a transformation in how the 
military fights. These changes involve the Penta- 
gon's core missions of nuclear deterrence, regime 
change, humanitarian aid, and pinprick airstrikes. 
To transform means making smart investments as 
well as cuts. We based the following Popular 
Mechanics plan on the capabilities of possible 
foes. Alas, some of the problematic programs 
singled out for elimination by politicians and 
policy wonks are the best hedges against these 
growing threats. Our focus is on frontline hardware 
and strategy. (We'll let others recommend how 
deeply to cut troop pay and retirement benefits.) 

Funding for overseas deployments totaled 
$162 billion in 2010. With that in mind, the PM plan 
was designed to increase the flexibility of deploy- 
ments and decrease their cost. 



MAINTAIN AIR 
SUPERIORITY 



i 

Every conceivable 
geopolitical and 
strategic wartime scenario 
begins with ownership of the 
airspace over the theater of 
operations. But enemy radar, 
warplanes, and antiaircraft 
missiles are improving. It is 
wise to make the most of the 
already steep investments in 
sophisticated airplanes by 
fielding enough of them. 

RECOMMENDATIONS: 

Trim the number of Navy 
and Air Farce versions of 
the F-35 by 25 percent. 




F-35 Lightning II variants are 
tempting targets for deep cuts. 
But they will be able to evade 
sophisticated radar systems 
and bring unparalleled sensor 
fusion to the battlefield- 
attributes that are critical in 
modern war. The White House 
will likely restructure the 
program; we advise against 
delaying development because 
it will alienate international 
customers. We say trim F-35 
purchases, but do not drop the 
numbers to fewer than 1320 
aircraft for the Air Force and 
280 for the Navy. And don't be 
deterred by the subsequent 
increase in price per plane. 

FINANCIAL IMPACT: 

This move saves about 
$6 billion over a decade, even 
after aircraft are purchased to 
replace the cut F-35s. 



MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 









Preserve every F-35B. 




The F-35B can take off and 




land vertically, transforming 




any flattop amphibious troop 




carrier into a formidable 




stealth aircraft carrier. 




Amphibious-ready groups 




need advanced-strike aircraft 




that don't require aircraft 




carriers; keep the 300 




originally planned. 




FINANCIAL IMPACT: 




There's no doubt F-35Bs are 




expensive, at $150 million 




per plane with steep 




operations costs. But their 




capability is hard to replace if 




they are delayed or canceled. 




The White House wants to 




delay development— we say 




keep the programs moving. 


Ld 

-1 

to 


^^ PREP TO FIGHT 


i 


J 1.5 WARS 


>- 
< 


President Barack 


< 


Obama and 


CL 


Defense Secretary Leon 


X 
if) 


Panetta are arguing for an 


on 


end to the post-Cold War 


Ld 

_i 
_i 


standard of maintaining a 


S 


military that can fight two 


_i 

Ld 


major ground wars at the 


< 


same time. Secretaries of 


1- 


defense under presidents 


< 


Bill Clinton and George W. 


> 


Bush tried to do the same 


< 

z 


thing and failed. We agree 


CO 


that it's time to end that 


D 


baseline of preparation. 


Lo" 

h- 


In the current environ- 


O 
O 


ment, fighting one ground 


CO 


war while conducting 


Ld 
CD 


sustained airstrikes and 


< 

5 


special operations 


> 


missions in another 


h- 
1- 

Ld 
CD 


theater is enough. 


>■ 


RECOMMENDATIONS: 


CO 

X 


Trim active-duty Army 


< 

DC 


personnel from 570,000 


CD 
O 


to 450,000. 


O 


Easing back from two-war 


X 

0- 


preparation diminishes 



demand for ground forces. 
Our cuts go deeper than 
those expected from Panetta, 
mostly because adopting sea 
basing (below) reduces the 
need for land facilities. Unlike 
the White House, we would 
preserve the Marine Corps at 
current strength. 

FINANCIAL IMPACT: 

About $30 billion saved over 
10 years. 




Delay/cancel next-gen 
ground vehicles. 

The Army's inventory of 
ground vehicles, swollen from 
recent conflicts, is sufficient. 

FINANCIAL IMPACT: 

Delaying the Ground Combat 
Vehicle program saves 
$7 billion and canceling the 
Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, 
$10.9 billion. Use some of 
the savings to upgrade 
Bradley Rghting Vehicles and 
up-armored Humvees. 



EMBRACE 
SEA BASING 



More than half the 
world's population 
lives within 120 miles of a 
coastline — a statistic that 
defines future battle- 
grounds. The concept of sea 
basing avoids land bases in 
favor of deploying all forces 
from ships. This decreases 
the footprint of a military 
operation and enables 
the president to adjust the 
deployment based on 
need — making entering and 
exiting military campaigns 




easier. A sea base can be set 
up in foreign waters without 
permission. It can also be 
resupplied — meaning no 
more diplomatic quid pro 
quos for border crossings or 
airspace access. 

RECOMMENDATIONS: 

Build transport ships. 

Pentagon officials have 
stated that sea basing 
requires transport ships on 
the U.S. coasts to reach 
anywhere in the world in 11 
days. Today's ships are too 
slow; a new 14-ship flotilla of 
fast aircraft- and cargo- 
carrying vessels is required. 

FINANCIAL IMPACT: 

An investment of about 
$14 billion will be needed, 
but it's better to adapt 
existing commercial designs 
for the military than to rent 
retrofitted fleets from 
contractors. 

Retire the USS George 
Washington (CVN-73). 

It may seem counterintuitive 
to advocate sea basing and 
cut carrier battle groups to a 
total of 10. But with more 
flattops launching helicop- 
ters, unmanned aircraft, and 
stealth F-35Bs, fewer carriers 
will be required. 

FINANCIAL IMPACT: 

The George Washington is 
about to be overhauled; 
retiring it (and its air 
wing) instead saves about 
$7 billion over 10 years. 



RECOMMENDATIONS: 



ADOPT A 
NUCLEAR DYAD 



4_ 

possess nuclear 
weapons as more global 
players develop them. But 
America has too many, and 
too many delivery systems: 
14 Ohio-class submarines, 
94 bombers, and 450 
intercontinental ballistic 
missiles. This triad was 
designed to defeat the 
Soviet arsenal; the Russian 
stockpile is now greatly 
reduced. Cut one leg and 
keep new missiles on alert 
in efficient ways. 



Retire all 14 nuclear- 
missile submarines. 

ICBMs offer the quickest 
response, and bombers 
attack with precision and 
surprise. The Cold War 
calculus that makes subma- 
rines valuable nuke launchers 
is based on their ability to 
hide and independently launch 
a second strike during a now 
unlikely extended nuclear 
exchange. Ignoring the howls 
of nuclear strategists, we 
point out that survivability is 
no longer as vital. 
FINANCIAL IMPACT: 
According to the Congressio- 
nal Budget Office, cutting the 
sub replacement program will 
save $99 billion, with another 
$15 billion saved in research. 




Rebase nuclear ICBMs. 

The Air Force keeps 450 
ICBMs in three vast fields that 
extend over tens of thou- 
sands of square miles— a 
herculean effort of mainte- 
nance and security. A series of 
consolidated but widely 
spaced nuclear-missile 
facilities could replace todays 
sprawling, 1960s-era ICBM 
fields. The new model: the 
bases that house multistage 
interceptor rockets for the 
Missile Defense Agency. 

FINANCIAL IMPACT: 

The tens of billions of dollars 
spent to establish new 
nuclear bases and missiles 
will pay for itself over the 
years in reduced staff, retired 
silos, and avoided mainte- 
nance costs. These systems 
will be 70 years old when they 
reach the end of their service 
lives in 2030. The Obama 
administration has already 
dodged a decision on a 
replacement; it is time to 
commit to a new way. pm 



POPULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 45 



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O^fi THE PAST 110 YEARS WE'VE PUBLISHED 
MORE THAN 1300 ISSUES FILLED WITH 
INSPIRING AND SOMETIMES QUIRKY 
TIPS (RATTRAP DOOR HINGE, ANYONE?) 




FOR SAVING TIME, MONEY, AND 
EFFORT. HERE, A COMPENDIUM 
OF OUR BEST ADVICE EVE P. 
BY THE EDITORS 



PHOTOGRAPHS BY 

D WIGHT ESCHLIMAN 

PROP STYLING BY 
MEGAN CAPONETTO 



48 MARCH 2012 | 



mm 4m%bmmmmmq. 



By Bill Morris 




n one of our very first issues, back in 1902, we told the story 
of an Illinois schoolboy named Mark Richards, who built an 
automobile for himself. By saving money from his after-school 
job blacking stoves, Richards cobbled together enough 
parts to assemble a runabout that rolled on four skinny 



tires and was powered by a single-cylinder 
engine. "I had no knowledge of the princi- 
ples and practice of gasoline engine con- 
struction," Richards said, "yet I not only 
managed to make it but to build the trans- 
mission mechanism, friction clutch, spark- 
timing mechanism, body running gear, 
etc., even doing the necessary blacksmith - 
ing ... I stuck to the job and am gratified 
with the result." 

If Mark Richards were alive today, he 
would love the story of Bob Dullam, a sculp- 
tor in Kalamazoo, Mich., who received one 
of our 2009 Backyard Genius Awards for 
building a replica of the Tumbler Bat- 
mobile. Dullam fabricated a steel chassis 
and laid on body plates made of epoxy 
reinforced with fiberglass matte, then 
dropped in a 350 Chevy V-8 and slapped on 
44-inch-wide Super Swamper tires. Why did 
Dullam spend $50,000 on his beast? "I like 
Batman," he says, "and the only way to get 
this car was to build it myself." 

The impulse to tinker, to putter, to do it 
yourself instead of buying it or paying some- 
one to do it for you — Rich- 
ards and Dullam share that 
mindset with millions of 
do-it-yourselfers. Some- 
times economic necessity 
drives this impulse, and 
other times the motivation 
has no price tag — it's the 
pride and freedom that 
come with self-reliance. 

In 2012, as Popular 
Mechanics celebrates 
110 years in publication, 
self-reliance remains a 
guiding principle of the 
magazine. While PM's 
long-standing slogan 
"Written So You Can 
Understand It" no longer 
appears on the cover, the 
magazine's mission 
remains the same: Use 
plain language to present 
stories about how things 
work — whether those 
things are internal combustion engines, 
supercomputers, or spacecraft — as well as 
how to make and fix things yourself. 



TYPOGRAPHY BY SPtNCC* CHARUS 




FLOYD ALBERT MARTIN OF 

JEFFERSON, IOWA, READS PLANS 

FOR BUILDING A ROLLING CHAISE 

LONGUE IN THE JULY 1938 ISSUE. 

WATCH 0UT r WOODPILE! 



Indeed, Popular Mechanics has depicted and fostered DIY 
for more than a century, which is why we chose it as the subject 
of this month's cover story. 

By the time PM debuted in 1902, the Second Industrial Revo- 
lution was at full gallop and DIY was embedded in the Ameri- 
can grain. Railroads had punched all the way to the West Coast, 
factories were gobbling up farmland, and the country was 
changing from a rural nation into an urban one. The year after 
Mark Richards built his runabout, Henry Ford and David Dun- 
bar Buick, a couple of hardcore DIYers, jumped into the bur- 
geoning automobile business. In the decades straddling the 
19th and 20th centuries, while the first great car craze swept the 
nation, another significant trend emerged: Between 1890 and 
1930, home ownership tripled and the American house itself 
became a project. 

To guide the masses, the early issues of Popular Mechan- 
ics were aimed at the initiated. Many readers were part of the 
rising class of mechanical professionals, people who knew 
how to fashion a miter joint, operate a lathe, and handle a 
drill press. The magazine's Shop Notes offered advice on 
"How to Temper Springs" and "Punching Structural Steel for 
Locomotive Tenders," while Amateur Mechanics taught 
younger readers how to make such things as a dovetail-joint 
puzzle. On a parallel track, by 1930 Sears, Roebuck & Co. had a 
building-materials catalog offering "everything you need to 
build, remodel, modernize or repair your house." 
As America emerged from the Great Depres- 
sion, the first golden age of PM's DIY coverage 
dawned with the introduction of the Solving Home 
Problems and The Craftsman sections. The for- 
mer offered little tips (put a sponge-rubber ball on 
the end of a coat hook to keep hats from slipping 
off), while the latter showed how to tackle big jobs 
("Outdoor Fireplace of Poured Concrete"). 

After a lull during World War II, DIY exploded 
along with the postwar economic boom. Suburban 
housing developments, typified by Levittowns near 
Philadelphia and on Long Island, provided a vast 
opportunity for DIYers. As soon as people moved 
into a cookie-cutter Levittown house, they started 
making modifications — adding a porch, expanding 
the garage, building a dormer. Technology was 
there to lend a hand with the introduction of light- 
weight portable power tools and the popularization 
of such convenient materials as drywall, Formica, 
and latex paint. And while Detroit kept cranking out 
ever more exotic cars, gearheads from the 
East Coast to California were out in the 
garage using yesteryear's models to 
concoct their very own one-of-a- 
kind kandy-kolored tangerine-flake streamline 
babies. PM responded in 1962 by introducing 
one of our longest-running and most avidly 




read sections of the magazine, Saturday Mechanic. 

Beginning in 1971, Appliance Clinic helped readers deal 
with a deluge of electronic devices and household appliances; a 
decade later, computers were added to the mix with the advent 
of Software Monitor. A California kid named Steve Jobs, who 
grew up building Heathkit electronics projects, would later say 
that his boyhood forays into DIY "gave a tremendous level of 
self-confidence, that through exploration and learning one 
could understand seemingly very complex things," After drop- 
ping out of college, Jobs retreated to his parents' garage with a 
buddy named Steve Wozniak to modify the first personal com- 
puter, the Altair 8800. You know the rest of that story. 

Jobs would later say that one of the "bibles" of his genera- 
tion was The Whole Earth Catalog, a DIY project begun in 1968 
by Stewart Brand, who put issues together with a couple of 
friends in Menlo Park, Calif., using an IBM Selectric typewriter 
and a Polaroid MP-3 camera. While the catalog appealed pri- 
marily to the counterculture, and PM stuck to the mainstream, 
both publications celebrated self-reliance. "It was all about 
empowering individuals," Brand says. "The people who read it 
were interested in starting over from scratch." 

Although the DIY mindset seemed to fade in the 1980s and 
'90s with the rise of the digital era, it returned in a new form at 
the start of the 21st century. While computer modding has roots 
in the late 1970s, its analog cousin — the maker movement — 
sprang to life in the early 2000s. Happily for PM, we are now in 
the midst of a hands-on creative resurgence. "What's going on 
today is fantastic," Brand says. "Maker Faire, DIYbio in Boston, 
tech schemers and dreamers, garage biotech people writing 
genetic code — basically what you've got now is a tech-friendly 
generation of young people who are aware they can mess with 
the hardware as much as the software." 

One of the hottest of the many DIY hotbeds is Brooklyn, N.Y. 
In the Boerum Hill neighborhood, half a dozen young co-workers 
gathered recently in the offices of MakerBot Industries, which 
has shipped more than 6500 of its desktop 3D printers to custom- 
ers all over the world. Bre Pettis, the company's 39-year-old co- 
founder and CEO, was regaling the group with tales of childhood 
adventures with an uncle in Boston who used to get up at 4 am to 
cruise the city's garbage-truck routes, scavenging stuff he would 
fix and reuse or sell at weekend flea markets. "Together we built a 
bicycle for me from spare parts," Pettis said. "It was a dirt bike, 
and we painted it black. At the end I had this aha! moment — this 
bike is mine, and I can fix it if it breaks. Mystery was replaced by 
pure satisfaction. It's very powerful when you're 6 years old and 
realize you can fix anything." 

Thanks to DIY's open-source ethos, he added, people today 
can make almost anything using off-the-shelf modules and 
parts, backed by a community willing to share designs, ideas, 
and computer code. "We started this company because we 
wanted to have a machine that can make anything," Pettis said, 
"putting the power of manufacturing in people's hands." 

MakerBot's 3D printer, for all its wizardry, is not really some- 
thing new. Rather, like Popular Mechanics today, the inven- 
tion is a contemporary manifestation of a very old tradition. It's 
the latest link in an unbroken DIY chain that goes as far back as 
Ben Franklin's stove, Mark Richards's runabout, Henry Ford's 
Model T, Stewart Brand's catalog, and Bob Dullam's Batmobile. 
It's a safe bet that someone is out in the garage or down in the 
basement right now, working on the next big thing. Tinkering, 
puttering, hacking. Doing it himself. 



POPULAR 
MECHANICS 

AlAGAZINE 



7«f AG£S Of 




1902-1925: INDUSTRIAL ROOTS 

PM founding editor H.H. Windsor writes for 
an audience of tradesmen and farmers already 
familiar with machining, wiring, and woodwork- 
ing. Doing it yourself is essential to making 
a living. Shop Notes and Amateur Mechanics 
sections show how to hone these skills in stories 
such as May 1908 's tutorial on fixing a machine's 
broken flywheel, or a December 1917 project, 
"Electric Bolt Lock Made from Bell Ringer." 




POPU] 
MECHANIC* 




POPULAR 
MECHANICS 




1940-1965: RISE OF THE NOVICE 



The postwar surge in new housing makes DIY a fundamental part of 
a home and living the American dream. Popular Mechanics' Solving Home 
Problems section tackles leaky faucets, busted clocks, and sticky drawers 
Projects retain a sense of thrift— empty 35-mm film canisters become 
picnic saltshakers in May 1947. The homeowner steadily rises to prosper- 
ity. By July 1958, a typical story shows how to entertain guests with 
a new backyard smoker (made from a cleaned-out oil drum). 



1985-2005: 

THE AGE OF SWEAT EQUITY 



DIY remains satisfying 
as a creative enterprise, 
but it gains allure as a 
way to maximize an 
investment. An April 
1987 feature simply 
titled "Doing It 
Yourself demonstrates 
how a weekend 
upgrade can translate 
into dollars saved. 
Hardware stores grow 
larger, and the range 
of options they offer 
a homeowner expands. 
Popular Mechanics 
begins running regular 
tool tests to explain 
how to choose a 
hammer— not just 
any hammer, but the 
best hammer money 
can buy. 





1965-1985: THE WEEKEND-PROJECT ERA 



Americans continue to 
put down roots in new 
suburbs. As tastes and 
housing technology 
evolve, problem- 
solving changes 
homespun to 
sticated. The 
izine turns its DIY 
e to maintaining 
new machines with 
the September 1971 
debut of the Appliance 
Clinic. DIY becomes 
an outlet for fun and 
creative expression 
in the Weekend 
Workshop section, 
where detailed 
home-build stories 
like March 1972's 
"A Backyard Storage 
Building That Isn't 
an Eyesore" define 
the times. 



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The act of making 
anything— plywood 
shelves, plumbing-pipe lamps, backyard roller coasters— is 
respected and celebrated in stories such as Popular 
Mechanics' annual Backyard Genius franchise and September 
2009's "Ruggedize Your Own Tech." Technology and 
communication offer new ways to share creations with 
like-minded communities such as those featured in May 
2011's "DIY Underground." But the abstract nature of the 
digital age also stokes an enduring need to create an object 
that can be held, used, taken apart, and put back together. 







What will your next project be? Whether it's at home, in pur workshop, at a jobsite or in your garage, Mechanic Wfear 
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Brace for Boards 

Our September 1948 issue 
showed how to store an ironing 
board upright in a closet by 
mounting a towel rack to a 
wall. The board's tip slips up 
under the chest-high rack. It's 
still a good idea. At the right 
height, a rack (or a rig made of 
steel pipe fittings) could 
support brooms or lumber 

Find a Key, Fast 

File a notch in a frequently used 
keys top to locate it without 
looking through the whole set. 
— April 1984 

Copper Wire 
Flashlight Stand 

To set up a simple worklight, 
coil 12-gauge copper wire 
around a flashlight's barrel and 
twist the rest into a base. 
-March 2011 

GotThatWrench? 

On band saws, routertables, or 
othershop equipment that 
requires a wrench to make 
routine adjustments, we 
advised in July 1952: Press the 
wrench into a lump of weather- 
stripping putty and stick the 
putty on the side of the shop 
tool, "me wrench will be easy to 
locate for quick changes of bits 
and blades. 

Pinhole Lens 

The August 1955 issue told a 
farsighted person to punch a 
pinhole in cardboard and peer 
through it to read small type. It 
still does the trick! 

JL. Jar Pumps Up 
Radio Tunes 

"Transistor radios produce a 
deeper, more melodious tone 
when placed speaker-down on 
top of an open fruit jar." This 
worked in February 1961. And 
it works today for an iPhone. 

Fortify Studs 

Nail 2x4 blocking between 
studs when framing walls, we 
suggested in November 1948. 
The boards provide sturdy 
mounting bases for heavy 
pictures or recessed medicine 
cabinets. Record the positions 
upon installation. 




Enlarged screw holes can be quickly repaired, we said in March 
1972, by filling the hole with a wooden golf tee. Use a hacksaw to 
saw the tee flush with the wood's surface, then sand and finish. 



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o ADD SAND TO FLOOR PAINT, A POUND PER GALLON, FOR A SKID-FREE COAT - February 2010 

o MIST WATER AT A SPARK PLUG AS A VEHICLE IDLES. VISIBLE ARCS SHOW VOLTAGE LEAKS. - February 1995 

< FILL EMPTY SHOTGUN SHELLS WITH MELTED WAX AND A WICK TO MAKE CAMPSITE CANDLES. - February is 



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Dry Up Paint Drool 

Punch holes in a paint-can rim 
with a 4d finish nail. This helps 
paint along the rim drain into 
the can. — January 1991 

^L Get a Handle 
on a Broken Tool 

"Replacing a shovel handle is 
one of those disappearing rural 
skills that shows basic 
mechanical competence— just 
as wrapping duct tape around 
a broken handle denotes the 
opposite/' the May 2007 issue 
said. Getting a wood handle's 
direction right ensures 



grain direction right ensures 
the strength of a replacement 
handle. Mount the new handle 
so that the oval rinas of wood 



3ndle. Mount the new handle 
so that the oval rings of wood 
grain run up and down the 
sides of the handle relative to 
the blade. Handles break when 
the tool is strained along those 
ovals. A look down the blade 
toward the face of the handle 
should reveal only straight, 
parallel lines of wood grain. 

• # v%v ••■•• 

Slow-Leak Test 

A tire tip from December 1935: 



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A tire tip from December 1 
To locate a pinhole leak in & 
bike tire's inner tube, hold it 
under water and watch for 
bubbles. 

Floating Frames 

Our August 1965 issue 

recommended taping small 

blocks of Styrofoarn to 

eyeglasses' bows, or legs, while 

fishing or boating. If the glasses »' 

go overboard, they'll float. 




go 




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1934 



Depression-era milk thieves met their 
match with the bandit-proof box we 
showed bolted to aporch in August 1934. 
A hole in the toppermits the bottle to be 
set inside, ana four strips of spring brass 
prevent its removal. The owner unlocks a 
panel to access the milk. Home-security 
technology evolved in PM's pages, from 
safes made of spare tires to whole-house 



. ...loiogy evoivea in rM'spaget 

safes made of spare tires to whol 

— ams on burglar deterrence. 



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JL /mpro vised Slides 
for Heavy Drawers 

The January 1970 issue 
showed how to reuse a bleach 
bottle to ease action on a 
heavily laden drawer. Cut 
M x 2-inch strips from a clean, 
empty bottle. Heat the plastic 
and fold its long side into a 
14-inch lip. Mount the strips at 
the bottom front corners of 
the drawer frame. The drawer 
slides on the strips, reducing 
friction. 

Keyhole Guide 

"A particularly useful device for 
people who are forced to stay 
out late at night" appeared in 
the September 1914 issue: the 
key guide. A V-shaped strip of 
metal affixed to the door 
tapers to a point just above the 
keyhole. The key's tip slides 
along the metal to find the 
keyhole opening. "This simple 
device should prove very useful 
in places where it is impossible 
to illuminate the keyhole." 

Sandbag Clamps 

Use sandbags to help glue 
down irregular shapes, such as 
veneers on uneven surfaces. 
- March 1983 

Block That Door 

To stop a door from swinging 
while working on its lock or 
knob hardware, our November 
1948 issue suggested this: 
Notch a block of wood to fit the 
edge of the door. Set the block 
on the floor, wedge the notch 
onto the door's edge, and step 
on the block. 

Closet-Rod Stop 

"The last suit or garment 
generally takes a beating in a 
crowded closet." To prevent 
this, wrap rubber bands around 
the rod a few inches from each 
end to form ridged stops for the 

i^naprc 



o PICK UP SLIVERS OF BROKEN GLASS WITH WADS OF MOIST COTTON. - march 1949 

« USE AN ICE-CREAM-BAR STICK TO SMOOTH CAULK IN CORNERS. - February 1963 

o NEST A BRICK CHISEL IN BROOM BRISTLES TO CONTAIN DUST FROM A STRIKE. - april 1984 



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GLOVBFUl 0' TOOLS 



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.. jld glove can become a miniature tool belt with a 
few modifications, according to our January 1949 
issue. Cut a slit in the cuff of the glove so a belt can 
pass through it. Then snip off the fingertips and 
thumb tip. Worn on a hip, the open fingertips cat 
conveniently carry pliers and large screwdrivers 



m 



JANUARY 

1949 




Roof -Rack Mount 

"Transporting a sheet of thin 
building material can be tricky, 
as the sheets flutter and flap 
when carried flat on a cars 
roof rack," we said in July 
1982. The solution: Set a 2 x 4 
on the roof rack, running the 
length of the car. Secure the 
sheets to the rack's side rails. 
Twist the 2 x 4 so that it 



stands on its narrower edge. 
The 2x4 will bow the sheets 
so they're rigid enough to 
withstand the wind. 

No Sliding on Siding 

"Jars of bolts and screws 
that are placed on shelves near 
:ools often are shaken 

...,,. . ^ shelf be» 
vibration from t 



according to our July 1946 
issue. Clapboard siding, then 
and now, is beveled. The end 
that would face downward on 
home's exterior is wider 



ire piacea on sneives nei 
power tools often are shaken 
off the shelf because of 
vibration from the machinery/' 



a home s exterior is wider 
than the end facing upward. 
Nail the siding to the shelf with 
the flat face down and the wide 
I at the shelf's edne. 



Nail 

the riai race aown ana tru 
end at the shelf's edge. 
This tilts the shelf toward 
the wall. 



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To make a clip-anywhere camera tripod, braze bolts onto the 
clamp body and fit tripod heads onto the bolts. — May 1951 

Use a C-clamp as a handle for a heavy bucket or drum. — March 1961 

To move large furniture, weld casters onto C-clamps and 
clip the clamps to the furniture legs. — March 1949 

When removing a brake caliper, first use a C-clamp to pinch 
off the brake hose to minimize fluid loss. —June 2001 




Chuck-Key Clip 

To keep from losing track of a 
drill-press chuck key, mount a 
clothespin to the press and clip 
the key in the pin's jaws. 

— December 1955 

Two-Step Pushstick 

"When you make a table saw's 
pushstick— and there should 
always be one handy— cut two 
notches instead of one in the 
end." The stepped stick end has 
one notch cut at 1 /£-inch depth 
and a second notch cut to 
Ya inch. Flipping the stick allows 
either thickness of stock to be 
pushed safely and securely 
toward the blade. 

— March 1962 

JL Doorknobs Access 
Garbage Cans 

Trash-can lids still pose a 
problem that PM tried to solve 
in December 1946, when we 
suggested mounting two 
discarded doorknobs on each 
face of the garbage-can lid. The 
knobs act both as a handle and 
a hanger. Grab the knob on top 
to remove the lid, and use the 
knob on the underside to hook 
it over the can's edge. This 
leaves both hands free to deal 
with trash. 

Soap Speeds Screws 

Wood screws turn more easily 
in tight-fitting holes when 
threads are rubbed with a 
slightly wet bar of soap. 

— September 1957 

JL Erudite Craftsmen 
Reuse Old Binders 

Fasten the metal portion of a 
three-ring binder to the top of a 
stepladder, we said in August 
1972. Mount the binder so the 
rings face downward. Tools 
with holes drilled in their 
handles can be stored and 
replaced. When the ladder is to 
be moved, snap shut the rings 
and tools will be securely held. 
Hie rings can also be used to 
hang cleaned brushes to dry. 

± Stop Suffering From 
Plywood Blowout 

To prevent splintered edges as a 
saw blade exits plywood, press 
masking tape onto the back 
side of the cut, we said in May 



1982. "The cut won't be 
absolutely clean, but it will be 
better than without tape." 

Lick Envelopes 
With Potatoes 

For readers burdened by 
correspondence, our November 
1948 issue offered "one way to 
avoid the unpleasant task of 
licking postage stamps." The 
trick: Moisten the stamps using 
a potato cut in half, "me water 
in the potato activates the 
adhesive. Stamps today often 
adhere like stickers, but a spare 
spud can still be used to 
moisten a pile of envelope flaps. 

Gloves Pad Ladders 

Fit cotton gloves atop ladder 
rails to prevent scratches where 
the ladder rests against paint or 
masonry. — March 1959 

JL Tire Sled Slides 
Heavy Stone 

Haul a heavy boulder out of a 
yard, our June 1951 issue 
suggested, by using an old tire 
to make a sled. Use a bolt and 
nut to fasten two thick lumber 
planks in a cross shape and 
wedge them inside the tire. Drill 
a hole in one plank near the end. 
Loop and fasten a chain through 
the plank and around the tire. 
Roll the stone onto the planks; 
hook the chain to a tractor or a 
truck to tow away the sled. The 
stone rides above grade in the 
tire opening while the tire edge 
drags on the ground. 

Thirst: The Other 
Mother of Invention 

To quickly make a bottle 
opener, drive a nail into a board 
so the head stands proud 
V2 inch. Bend the shank and 
grab the bottle by the nailhead. 
- March 1966 



* GROOVE AN AX HEAD TO AID CHOPPING. - august 1924 

° POLISH METAL WITH A CLOTH DUSTED IN CHALK. - apr/l 1957 

o SLIT A RADIATOR HOSE END TO EASE REMOVAL - may 1990 





On an incline, a hand truck can roll backward and cause an injury, our Febru- 
ary 1938 issue cautioned. Reduce the risk by mounting stout fabric straps on 
the truck's frame above the wheels. Moveforward ana the straps flap out of 
the way. Go backward and the straps tuck under the wheels to arrest motion. 



>«i 





Screw a trap to a trailer to hold a warning 
flag when towing large objects. —August 1932 

Mount several traps to a workshop wall to make a 
handy rack for gloves, notes, and receipts. — May 1954 

Anchor one end of a long tape measure by clipping 
the tape in a na Ned-down trap. —January 1938 



Rattirap Reu/&e 



one 



the tape in a na Ned-down trap. —January 1938 

Retrieve dropped, unreachable tools with a trap dangling 
string. Hit the tool with the bait pan. — July 1961 



"We had a door that we wanted to keep 
closed, and not having any suitable 
ready-made device at hand, we made o\ 
from a spring rattrap, " we said in our 
May 1927 issue. Saw off the bait end of 
the trap and screw the remainingpart 
to the door casing. Protect the adjacent 
surface with apiece of tin, "This door 
closer works perfectly, and is cheap. " 






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o CUT DISCS FROM WINE CORKS TO MAKE SLIDING FEET FOR CHAIRS. - march 1963 

« DRILL GUIDE HOLES IN A BLOCK TO STOP SCREWDRIVER SLIPS. - apr/l 1957 

o SWAP FAT SAFETY PINS FOR MACHINES' MISSING COTTER PINS. - September 1917 



•••-• 



INTERIOR ORIENTATION 






To locate identical positions on opposite sides of 
a wall, we showed a method using a bar magnet 
and pocket compass in October 1943. The magnet, 

attached to a suction 
cup, holds the position 
on one side of the wall. 
On the other side, a 
compass points to the 
magnet so the spot can 
be marked. 




CT08ER 



a spike to make a dibble for 
digging holes for bulbs and 
seeds. A broken shovel with a 
D-handle also works well. In 
July 1946, the broomstick 
entered the game room as a 
dart rack: Plane an 8-inch 
length of broomstick so that 
it can be fastened to a 
backboard. Drill holes for the 
darts at a 45-degree angle 
Vs inch in diameter, M> inch 
deep, spaced 1 inch apart 
on center. 

A Chisel Manicure 

Because a dull wood chisel 
produces slipshod work, 
use a method we suggested in 
June 1948 to test the tool for 
adequate sharpness. Push the 
chisel cutting edge gently over 
the top of a thumbnail. If it 
slides without catching, the 
chisel needs to be sharpened. 

Crescent as Caliper 

To measure a drill bit to bore a 
pilot hole for a nut and bolt 
assembly, our August 1965 
issue recommended using an 
adjustable wrench as a crude 
caliper to determine the bolt's 
diameter. Then match the 
wrench jaw's reading with a 
corresponding drill-bit 
diameter. 

Baste the Brakes 

When replacing brake fluid, it's 
necessary to flush out the 
system. Don't do that by 
reusing the old muddy brown 
around on top of a bench while fluid in the reservoir, we said in 
scouring the inside, our March November 1992. Use a turkey 
1934 issue said, lay the bucket baster to siphon the excess 
on its side and wedge auto tire fluid from the reservoir, then 
tubes beneath the curved add a little clean fluid to flush 

exterior. To update the tip, use 
hin/de inner tubes. 



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exterior, lo update the tip, i 
each bicycle inner tubes. 



New Life for a 
Broken Broom 

A broken broomstick is just 
another new tool. In March 
1981, we showed how to 
shape a broken handle into 



U d lime uedii IIUIU LU II Ub 

out the reservoir. And don't 
use that baster on poultry 
ever again. 

Sandpaper Saver 

To unclog sandpaper, rinse it in 
lacquer thinner, then buff the 
paper with a wire brush. 
— September 1954 



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Hfll ARDUINO 

1-— -^1*™!*! NOW AT RADIOSHACK. 



RadioShack is proud to carry the new Arduino Uno and Mega boards, meaning your 
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1 



oohnCODETOSEE 

If) OUR GREAT SELECTION OF Q 

MICROCONTROLLERS. 




60 MARCH 2012 



HUM -SPECMl-JW/fottotoaiy 




Better Paper Cuts 

We shared the secret to 
making neat cuts in large 
spools of paper in our March 
1969 issue. With the spool 
standing vertically, unfurl the 
length of paper planned for use. 
Begin the cut a few inches from 
the top, slicing downward. The 
uncut section supports the 
sheet so it doesn't droop and 
tear. Snip off the top portion to 
finish the cut. 



Fuel-Spray Stifler 

Servicing a fuel-injection 
system opens up lines with 
pressures that can top 60 psi, 
we warned in August 2002. 
"That's enough to spray 
atomized gasoline across the 
shop." Here's how to protect 
your eyes: Wrap a screwdriver 
shank in a shop towel and use 
the tip to depress the Schrader 
valve stem in the fuel rail's 
diagnostic fitting. 



l 



How to Silence a 
Clanking Chain 

To prevent a chain from 
rattling, weave a rope in 
between the links, we said in 
June 1916. Arrange the rope 
so that it threads only in 
spaces between the links. 



• Defend the Home 
With a Putty Knife 

To protect painted walls and 
other delicate surfaces when 
using a hammer to pull nails, 
wedge a putty knife beneath 
the tool's claw, our August 
1954 issue recommended. 




A fitting tribute to all who serve... 




k «mper 



U.S. Marine Corps 
Ring 



U.S. Navy 




i snavV 

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U.S. 
Air Force 



Choose 

your 
favorite! 




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Forces serve valiantly to protect our country. Now, in tribute to these great 
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To find ring size, match a circle with the inside of a ring (a band woi 



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The Danbury Mint Send 

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Six-inch garden-hose scraps can hold hand 
tools, we noted in November 1948. Cut the hose 
to length with a small tab at the top to take a 
wall-mounting screw. "Using garden hose for 
this purpose is especially convenient for the 
man who does not want to build a cabinet. " 



i 



mM^MPFC/ffl'//^/^^e^V^ I MARCH 2012 63 



USE A PUNCTURED COFFEE CAN TO SHIELD A BARE BASEMENT BULB. - JANUARY 1950 
PULL HEADLESS FINISH NAILS TIP-FIRST TO AVOID SPLITTING LUMBER. - april 1963 
SAND A SQUEEGEE'S RUBBER TO RESTORE ITS WORN EDGE. - april 1957 





► Use hose lengths to protect a child's hands from swing-set chains. — May 1933 
Wrap a hose length in sandpaper to abrade concave and convex profiles. — February 1972 
Cut a hose strip to cushion the back of a push saw. Press the blade into the work. —January 1954 
Wrap a cold chisel or a star drill in a hose length to make a shock-absorbing grip. — March 1937 



Stop Dropping 
Those Drawers 

"No doubt you have pulled a 
drawer all the way out 
and— c-r-r-a-o-s-hf Our 
December 1961 issue had a 
solution for drawers prone to 
pulling free of dressers: Pull the 
drawer out as far as safely 
possible and paint a red stripe 
on each rail next to the cabinet 
face. Paint a black stripe 2 
inches closer to the front of the 
drawer. Pull the drawer out no 
farther than the black mark and 
you'll avoid spilling its load. 

^ Old Bleach Jug 
Helps Green Thumb 

Punch holes in the cap of a 
clean, empty bleach jug to 
make a garden watering can. 
— December 1962 

Glove Pads Make 
Polishing Easy 

A pair of homemade mitts 
simplify and speed up the 
job of polishing a car, we said 
in July 1952. Stitch several 
thicknesses of terry-cloth 
toweling or cheesecloth to a 
pair of cloth work gloves. Use 
one glove to apply the polish 
and the other to remove the 
excess. Wash the mitts in 
soapy hot water 

Ladder Scraper 
for Muddy Boots 

Our July 1958 issue had a tip 
for working safely on round 
ladder rungs in a muddy yard: 
Mount a length of bar stock 
low on the ladder, then scrape 
mud off boot soles before 
climbing. Mount another rigid 
bar near the top of the ladder 
and you can scrape goop off 
putty knives and trowels. 



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o TO HIDE A SCRATCH /N WALNUT FINISH, RUB IT WITH A SLICED WALNUT. - October 1954 
< GIVE A HAMMER CLAW A FRESH BITE WITH A HACKSAW CUT. - November 1957 
o ROLL TIRE CHAINS IN BURLAP TO STOP TANGLES AND NOISE. - November 1948 



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Bottle Caps Drain 
Potted Plants 

"When pebbles or ceramic 
fragments are not available for 
use as drainage material in the 
bottom of a flowerpot/' we 
said in November 1956, "metal 
bottle caps make a good 
substitute/' Place them with 
the crimped edge down to 
cover the entire bottom of the 
container. 

News on Windows 

Our April 2003 issue offered a 
glass-cleaning classic: Use old 
newspapers to clean dirty 
windows. Save paper towels. 

Padlock Hardware 

A strap hinge taken from a barn 
door makes a hasp for a 
padlock. Remove the hinge pin 
and separate the halves. Fasten 
one hinge half to a doorframe, 
with the wide end of the strap 
mounted through to the frame, 
and the narrow end projecting 
outward. Fasten the other 
hinge half to the door itself, in 
the same orientation, so the 
holes align on the narrow, 
projecting ends. Insert the lock 
so its bar spans the holes. 
— November 1938 

Milk Carton 
Ignites Charcoal 

Use a cardboard milk carton to 
start charcoal for a grill, we said 

iwlQAPl Pi it /-\fFl-ha fr\r\ 



art cnarcoai ior a grin, we sc 
May 1960. Cut off the top 
id stack the coals inside. The 

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in 

and SiacK me coais insiue. me 
wax-coated carton will produce 
a hot flame around them. 

,JL Training Wheels 
for the Shop 

Don't toss out training wheels 
when a child moves on to a 
bigger bike. Mount the wheels 
to bench saws and other heavy 
shop machinery. Attach the 
wheels above the floor and tilt 
the machines to move them 
»™ind.— April 1972 





Mason f s Helper 

"A matchbook held by a brick 
takes the sag out of a mason's 
line." The matchbook suspends 
the line, keeping it the right 
distance from the top course 
so it doesn't interfere with 
striking the mortared joint. 
-July 1962 

Keep Matches Dry 

To waterproof matches, dip 
them in melted paraffin wax. 
-April 1916 



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66 MARCH 2012 | 



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START BONFIRES WITH AN OIL-SOAKED CORNCOB WEDGED IN A PIPE. - JUNE 1949 
MARK A GARDEN TROWEL HANDLE TO MAKE A SOIL-DEPTH GAUGE. - junb 1954 
USE OLIVE OIL TO LOOSEN PAPER ADHERED TO WOOD VARNISH. - January 1950 



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Shirt-Shredding Washing Machine 
"Facing an accumulation of soiled 
clothing that would have cost at 
least $10 if done at the laundry, " 
a reader reasoned that his outboard 
motor could agitate suds. Mounted 
on a barrel divided by a screen , the rig 
worked, he claimed— for 10 cents. The 
clothings condition afterward was not 
mentioned. — September 1926 

—> FILTHY PLAYPEN 

"When a playpen is needed and none is at hand, just take a 
kitchen or other small table, turn it upside down, and stretch cloth around the 
outside of the legs." The tip suggests padding the table's underside with an old 
comforter, but doesn't mention clearing out the cobwebs and chewing gum first. 
— February 1938 

—> RATTRAPS MURDER TURTLES 

"Spring-type rattraps are an effective means of disposing of turtles which 
menace game fish in a pond or lake." An illustration shows a turtle about to 
bite a chicken head in a trap mounted to a post set in shallow water. Sorry, 
turtles. Our apologies to the chickens too. — June 1948 

•*► TRUNK LID MAKES BOSS AWNING 

"One home craftsman used the trunk lid of an old sedan to make a serviceable 
and inexpensive canopy for the back door of his home." The trunk was dressed 
up, at least, with wrought-steel supports. — June 1954 



ADDITIONAL KCP01TIN6 BY STtVl HOUSSIAV * HAKeY SAWYltS 



Five Auto Fixes 

The October 2009 issue gave 
"Get-Home-at-Any-Cost" tips 
for roadside catastrophes, 
beginning with a leak in the 
radiator. Crack a raw egg into 
the radiator filler cap (not the 
overflow tank). The egg white 
will plug the hole— for a 
while. To fill the radiator back 
up: Top it off with water, diet 
soda, tea, or any other 
sugar-free liquid. To fix a 
punctured gas tank: Stuff 
a wedge from a bar of soap 
into the hole. It'll last long 
enough to get you into town. 
Oil pan punctured by a 
stone? Whittle a plug from 
a twig and hammer it into 
the hole. But now you're low 
on oil. To fill the crankcase, 
add a quart of water. Really. 
The oil-pump pickup is not 
on the exact bottom— the 
remaining oil will float on top 
of the water. 

Shoehorn Weeder 

For weeding in the cracks of 
concrete, our June 1938 
issue said, "a shoehorn is 
handy ... it enables you to do 
the work quickly and prevents 
sore fingers." Good luck 
finding a spare shoehorn 
today. Those weeds can 
now be uprooted from tight 
cracks with an old putty knife 
or a painter's five-in-one tool. 

Fixing a Hole 

In the January 1963 issue, we 
recommended using a sliver 
snipped from a toothpaste 
tube to fill a stripped-out 
screw hole. Screw threads 
bite into the metal. With 
today's plastic tubes, a 
toothpick works better. But 
the essence of the tip 
remains: Implements of oral 
hygiene can fill cavities. PM 



THi END! 



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68 MARCH 2012 



P0PULARMECHAN1CS.COM 



TRAVIS ROAD IS ONE OF A HUNDRED DIRT LANES THAT ROAD CREWS 
in this part of southeastern Michigan haven't gotten around to paving. On 
this late November day, a cold, steady rain has enlarged the potholes into 
craters that bounce my car as I approach a large, nondescript metal building. 
It's the kind of obscure facility that's sprinkled across the older suburbs of 
Michigan, Ohio, and the rest of the car-building belt of the Midwest GM's 
Milford Proving Ground is 10 miles to the north, the border of Detroit 
25 miles to the south. A small sign outside says PSI Springs. 

Inside is the guy everyone says I need to talk to, Steve Bown. He is tall, with 
wide shoulders and noticeably broad hands that make him look more like a 
tight end than someone who devotes his waking hours to the minute details 
of valve springs. He drops me off in the conference room and leaves to fetch 
his partner, Larry Luchi. And then I spot it on a dusty shelf: a heavy, slightly 
blackened coil mounted on a small piece of wood. A plaque underneath 
reads "Jeff Gordon, 1998 Rockingham Win." This tube of steel wire was the 




This steel 
spring is 2.3 
inches long 
and weighs 
3.4 ounces. Its 
unglamorous 
job is to keep 
an engine 
valve closed. It 
does that so 
well it kicked 
off a secret 
Nascar 
horsepower 
war. 




70 MARCH 2012 | P0PULARMECHANICS.COM 



first PSI valve spring used in a Nascar race. It revo- 
lutionized engine building and the country's most 
popular motorsport, but few people have ever 
heard of it. 

My interest in the subject began with a remark 
by legendary Nascar team owner Jack Roush. This 
was 15 years ago. I casually asked him if there was 
a single automotive part with the potential to dra- 
matically alter racing stock cars. Roush isn't in the 
business of disclosing trade secrets, but he lit up. 
"Oh, yeah," he said enthusiastically. "Valve 
springs. We're getting higher quality valve springs 
that are going to let us do some tremendous 
things." It was an unexpected answer: These 
springs are humble engine parts. They simply 
keep the valves to the combustion chambers 
closed until the moment that a fresh dose of 
mixed fuel and air has to enter, or exhaust leave. 
Roush wouldn't elaborate — maybe he thought he 
had said too much already. Intrigued, I called 
other Nascar teams. But racers are as tight with 
their secrets as the NSA. I got a bunch of "no com- 
ment" answers and moved on. 

Recently, Nascar's big rules change for 2012 — 
a switch from carburetors to electronic fuel 
injection — made me wonder whether the innova- 
tions Roush hinted at had really changed the 
sport. I dug back into my contacts among Nascar 
team owners and engine builders. This time I was 
able to get people to talk. The highly publicized 
switch to fuel injection was a sideshow, they told 
me, in comparison with the changes in engine 
performance that occurred between 1998 and 
2004. During those years, horsepower and engine 
revolutions had reached once-impossible heights. To under- 
stand how, I needed to ask Steve Bown about his valve springs. 

Bown and Luchi return to the conference room, where I am 
contemplating the Jeff Gordon spring. "We were in the pits dur- 
ing the race," Luchi says. "Keeping our fingers crossed watching 
the 24 [Gordon's] car." It wasn't a particularly exciting race. 
Videos show Gordon hanging back for most of the contest but 
clearly dominating the final third of the race. At one point he 
has a 4-second lead. Gordon had just won the 1997 Nascar 
championship, and fans had no reason to suspect that anything 
other than driving skill was at work. But Nascar engineers knew. 
Inside his engine, 16 newly designed valve springs were ticking 
away, giving him an advantage. "By 2001," Bown says, "all the 
teams were using our springs." 

RULES GOVERNING NASCAR engine architecture date back 
50 years. They have evolved, but the basic regulations that limit 
engine size to 358 cubic inches and define the layout — two 
valves per cylinder and pushrod valvetrains — were written in 
1968. For that reason, Mike Fisher, Nascar's managing director 
of research and development, has a strange job for someone 
with his title: keeping a lid on innovation. "We try to maintain a 
pretty tight box around what teams can do to the engine," he 
says. "We don't want one team having more power." If the 




Jeff Gordon on his way to winning the 1998 GM Goodwrench 
Service Plus 400 at North Carolina's Rockingham Speedway. 
Few knew about the advanced valve springs inside his engine. 




details can seem backward, like running carburetors and burn- 
ing leaded fuel decades after passenger cars had moved on, 
there's a certain genius to the strategy. Nascar grandstands are 
packed partly because, in any given race, there are at least a 
dozen drivers who could win. In terms of lead changes and tight 
racing, a Formula 1 race is, by comparison, a procession. 

Despite the straitjacket rules, however, Nascar drivers, engi- 
neers, and mechanics have always hunted for ways — some legal, 
others not so much — to get a performance edge. Counter- 
intuitively, massaging the old tech of the Nascar V-8 at the 
granular level has produced highly advanced engineering. When 
it came to engine design, though, there was always one weak link. 
"The vast majority of engine failures — 85 to 90 percent — are 
caused by broken valve springs," says Cecil Stevens, a longtime 
engine builder who now heads the engineering consulting firm 
Illusions Engine Development. The reason is simple: Valve 
springs have an incredibly tough job. 

At each of the engine's eight cylinders, the intake valve lets in 
fresh air and fuel, and the exhaust valve releases spent gases — 16 
valves in total. A spring holds a valve closed until the valvetrain 
system pushes on the top of the spring, forcing the valve to open. 
Since an engine's output is directly related to the amount of air 
that flows in and out of the combustion chamber, the valves play 
a vital role. The larger the valves, and the farther they open, the 




P0PULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 71 





Steve Bown and ultimately convinced him that 
there was a need for a company that focused 
on racing; valve springs. Bown enlisted Larry 
Luchi, a former Peterson CFO, to handle the 
business details while he focused on design and 
manufacturing. In 1996, with $170,000 of startup 
capital, the two men formed Performance Springs 
Inc. (PSI). "During our first year, we had one cus- 
tomer," Luchi says. "HendrickMotorsports." 



PUSHROD-ACTUATED VALVES MAY SEEM OUT- 
DATED—THE LAYOUT IS AS OLD AS THE INTERNAL 
COMBUSTION ENGINE— BUT REFINEMENTS TO THE 
DESIGN HAVE NEVER STOPPED COMING. GM AND 
CHRYSLER STILL BUILD PUSHROD ENGINES. 



greater the airflow and the horsepower the engine can pro- 
duce — and the greater the stress on the spring. 

As much as airflow dictates engine power, so does the speed 
at which the engine operates. Spin an engine faster and it will, 
in most cases, make more power. Randy Dorton, the chief 
engine builder at Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon's team, 
started a quest in the early '90s to increase engine rpm. Dorton 
died in a plane crash in 2004, but Jeff Andrews, who is now 
Hendrick's director of engine operations, has been at the team 
for about 20 years. 

"Back then," Andrews says, "the biggest limiting factor [for 
higher engine rpm] was the valve springs." In 1998, a stock car's 
V-8 peaked at about 8000 rpm. The valves cycle at half the speed 
of the engine's crankshaft, so at 8000 rpm the valves open 4000 
times per minute, or 67 times each second. During many oval 
races, engines remain at peak rpm for 500 miles — and the valve 
springs were operating outside their comfort zone. 

The springs were a commodity product. Teams bought them 
from companies whose steady clients were mainstream car- 
makers. One such company is Peterson Spring, a privately held 
automotive supplier founded in Detroit in 1914. Dorton 
approached Peterson about building better valve springs. The 
company made some improvements, but it simply wasn't 
focused on racing. While there, Dorton met Peterson engineer 



TRACTOR-TIRE-SIZE spools of steel wire squat 
in the rear of PSFs minifactory. Bown guides me to 
a coiling machine that's about the size of a large 
refrigerator. Hydraulics draw the wire, and dies 
guide it into the spiral shape. When the spiral 
reaches a size dictated by computer controls, a 
cutter clips the wire and the newly born spring 
ftns countless others in a bin. This first step in 
e process differs little from what you'd see 
B any spring factory. What comes next is the 
unique part: PSI's 41 employees take the springs 
through a nearly 50-step treatment process, cod- 
idling the parts like diamond-cutters tending 
gems. "We focus on quality, not cost," Bown says. 
One of PSI's main goals now is to increase the 
fatigue resistance by reducing the number and 
size of microscopic flaws in the metal. 

When steel wire is coiled into a spring, the 
metal becomes rough, like a board cut on a table 
saw, although the flaws are all but invisible to the 
naked eye. PSI heats its springs to more than 1000 
degrees Fahrenheit in an oven that looks like a 
giant toaster, quenches them back to room temper- 
ature, shot-peens them in three steps — the process 
is similar to sandblasting, but the medium is much finer — and 
polishes them. That's the quick version. It took Bown an hour to 
walk me through the process, and he declined to divulge many of 
the details. The finished product is actually two concentric 
springs, a design that increases spring rate — the force required 
to compress it a given distance — while ensuring that the piece 
can still fit in the allotted space. As a final step, workers in a dark- 
ened room inspect each spring under a microscope. If they find a 
blemish, it gets pitched. The rejection rate is about 25 percent. 

Engine builders have their own way of testing springs: They 
use a Spintron, a machine invented in 1993 by Bob Fox to test 
the pushrods made by his company, Trend Performance. It's a 
simple device, basically an engine block with only a dummy 
crankshaft and the valvetrain components — camshaft, push- 
rods, rocker arms, valves, and springs. The engine doesn't run; 
it's cycled by a 60-hp electric motor connected to the crank- 
shaft. With an array of sensors and high-speed video cameras, 
the Spintron reveals formerly invisible details, like how an 
undamped spring continues to oscillate after the valve closes. 

In the win-at-all-cost culture of Nascar racing, where budgets 
hover at around $20 million and winning the championship is a 
financial windfall, teams lined up to buy $60,000 Spintrons, 
which validated parts and became invaluable research tools. And 
few balked at the extra expense of the PSI springs — $28 apiece, or 



72 MARCH 2012 I POPULARMECHANICS.COM 




40 percent more than previous 
springs. But while the springs 
themselves weren't pricey, they 
unlocked a technological arms 
race that did prove expensive. 

Once valve springs were no 
longer the limiting factor on 
engine rpm, other weaknesses 
emerged. Doug Yates is the presi- 
dent of Roush Yates Racing- 
Engines, a company that builds 
more than 500 Nascar engines a 
year. "Once you got a better valve 
spring," he says, "you could spin 
the engine faster. But for every 
extra 100 rpm, the next weakest 
link showed up." Piston assem- 
blies were lightened to lower the 
forces caused by the higher 
speeds. The camshaft was posi- 
tioned higher in the block to 
reduce the length and the weight 
of the pushrods. Special coatings 
and bearings reduced friction. 

In 1998, the best Nascar V-8s 
revved to about 8200 rpm and 
produced roughly 700 hp. In the 
following six years, the maximum 
engine rpm climbed to 10,500 and 
the horsepower to 900. In the process, 
the Nascar engine builders broke 
through what were once thought to be 
ironclad boundaries. Take piston speed, 
for example. It was once believed that 
the upper limit for the piston speed of a 
Nascar V-8 was about 4500 feet per 
minute (fpm). Fl engines, which are 
considered to be the most sophisticated 
racing engines, have piston speeds of 
about 5200 fpm. But in 2004, the Nascar 
V-8 outdid even the Fl motors with 
piston speeds of 5400 fpm. "The Fl guys 
came over," Yates says, "and they 
couldn't believe what we'd done." 

These changes weren't cheap. Say a 
team designs a new camshaft that opens 
the valve farther, to take advantage of 
the new springs. Testing the cam 
requires a new set of valve springs 
($500), the camshaft ($3000), valves 
($3000), and assorted other costly items, 
all adding up to about $10,000. To vali- 
date the test, it has to be repeated, so it's 
$30,000 for just one new part. If some- 
thing fails, the part gets redesigned and 




Steve Bown (left) and Larry Luchi at their Michigan-based valve-spring 

factory. While the high-tech springs enabled Nascar V-8s to produce 

nearly 1000 hp, the business plan had modest origins: The pair 

formulated their strategy as they fixed up Luchi's lakeside cottage. 



the tests repeated. Now multiply that process over the hundreds of parts in an 
engine. "It was a financial war to not only get an edge, but to simply keep up," Yates 
says. The result was to concentrate a significant horsepower advantage at the few 
shops that could afford to develop the high-rewing engines. By the early 2000s, 
according to Andy Randolph, technical director at Earnhardt-Childress Racing 
Engines, the field was splitting between those teams that had engineered high-rpm 
engines and those that hadn't "The races were turning into rpm battles," he says. 

This rpm race ended in 2005, when Nascar, concerned about maintaining a level 
playing field and limiting top speed, introduced the gear rule. By mandating specific 
gear ratios for each track and applying a little math, race officials can compute the 
maximum engine rpm. "It's the mechanical way to control engine rpm," Nascar's 
Mike Fisher says. "We target about 9000 to 9200 rpm on a steady basis, with a peak 
of about 9500." 

The effects of that tumultuous six-year period are in plain view every Sunday. 
Today, engines are relatively unstressed, which is why failures are now rare. And 
where once more than a dozen shops and teams produced engines, now there are 
just a handful. For the moment, the field has been equalized: Last year, there were 
17 different winners, a 30 percent increase over 2008. 

At PSI, they're still testing and tweaking. Before I leave, Bown shows me the latest 
prototype. I hold it up next to the Jeff Gordon spring. The new one is half as thick. 
"We're getting steel made specifically for us," Bown says, "and the springs can with- 
stand even higher stress levels." That means the engine builders can open the valves a 
little more, inching up the power levels again. So far, no team is using the new spring, 
but it's only a matter of time. There are rumors that some teams have found a way to 
increase engine rpm past 9500, despite the gear rule. They continue to experiment 
with aerodynamics, suspensions, and tires. And lap times drop a bit each year, PM 



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P0PULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 75 



by Kalee Thompson 



CURBSIDE MOTORCOACHES OFFER BUDGET 
FARES, ALONG WITH OVERWORKED DRIVERS, 
OUTDATED EQUIPMENT, 
SAFETY RECORDS. DEATH 
CRASHES ARE ON THE 





n a recent Thursday morn- 
ing, Mike Lin pulled a 
cherry-red, 59-passenger 
bus up to the curb along 
Allen Street in lower Man- 
hattan's Chinatown. A handful of people had gathered on the sidewalk, and as 
they climbed into the coach, Lin stepped down from the driver's seat to help a 
bearded young man load an oversize green backpack and a pair of wooden stilts 
into the luggage compartment. For the past four years Lin has worked full-time 
for a small bus company called Eastern Coach, usually driving a daily New York- 
to-D.C. round trip. He leaves the curb at 10 am and, if traffic is light, arrives in 

More than 750 million passengers travel 

by motorcoach each year — more than those who take 
Amtrak and domestic flights combined. The number is up 
recently, due in part to the weak economy — when money 
is tight, people take the bus. Nowadays, they have an 
abundance of options. Dozens of new carriers have joined 
established companies such as Greyhound and Peter Pan. 
Many of them, like Eastern, are curbside operators that 
keep overhead low by forgoing a terminal and picking up 
and dropping off passengers on a public street 

But there's a hidden cost to a cheap ride, as the nearly 
30 fatalities from bus accidents in 2011 illustrate well. 
March was a particularly bad month, beginning with a 
grisly crash in the Bronx. A bus returning to New York 
City's Chinatown from the Mohegan Sun casino in 
Connecticut flipped on its side and skidded into a high- 
way signpost, killing 15 people and injuring 18 more. Two 
days later, an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike killed 
one passenger and the driver. One week later, a chartered 
motorcoach rolled over on a New Hampshire highway, 
resulting in several serious injuries. 

On May 31, there was another deadly crash on Inter- 
state 95, just outside Doswell, Va. The motorcoach, 



Washington, D.C., by 3 pm. At 4, he pulls away 
from the curb again, hoping to deliver his 
passengers — who pay $20 one way — to China- 
town before 9:30 pm. After that, he returns 
the bus to a Brooklyn parking lot and takes 
the subway home to Queens. If he's lucky, 
he's in the door by midnight. 

Lin used to work for a more established 
company, but he didn't like the rules: "I had 
to wear a uniform. I couldn't talk to passen- 
gers while driving. I couldn't smoke around 
the bus," he says. His old company usually 
hired separate drivers for the trips to and 
from D.C., and the bus was equipped with a 
speed governor that prevented the driver from 
breaking the posted limit. "Everybody speeds 
a little," says Lin, who traveled at a steady 
70 mph along a stretch of highway marked at 
55 while many passengers dozed in the half- 
empty bus. What none of them knew was that 
Eastern has one of the worst safety records of 
any American bus company, ranking in the 
top 5 percent in unsafe-driving violations. 



BY FRANCISCO "PAC23" PEREZ 



operated by a company called Sky Express, was in the right-hand lane 
just before 5 am, halfway through a 10-hour trip from North Carolina 
to New York City. As the highway curved gently to the left, the driver — 
who later admitted to falling asleep at the wheel — didn't alter course. 
The bus traversed a section of rumble strips before it crossed the 
shoulder entirely and kept going onto a grass embankment. It 
careened 381 feet before it rolled onto its roof and finally skidded to a 
rest another 80 feet from where it had left the highway. 

The roof was crushed and the windows shattered. Like most motor- 
coaches, the 37-year-old bus had no passenger seatbelts. First 
responders were faced with chaos: From inside the bus came groans 
of pain and screams for help. Outside, broken glass, duffel bags, and 
suitcases littered the ground. All 58 passengers had to be transported 
to area hospitals, dozens with serious injuries. Four passengers died. 
The only person who didn't require professional medical care was 
the driver, 37-year-old Kin Yiu Cheung. He was also the only person 
on the bus whose seat was equipped with a seatbelt. 



For many years, intercity bus 

travel was extremely safe. In the 1980s and 
1990s, there were about six to 10 motorcoach 
fatalities annually (a figure that includes inter- 
city buses and chartered tour buses but 
excludes school buses and municipal city 
buses). Then a disturbing trend emerged. 
"We started to see the numbers creep up to 
around 25 to 30 fatalities a year, which worried 
us considerably," says Norm Littler, executive 
director of the Bus Industry Safety Council, a 
group of industry veterans that develops and 
promotes motorcoach safety procedures. 

The increased risk corresponds to the 
rapid growth of bus carriers in the late 1990s, 
Littler says. "There was a lot of capital around. 
The bus manufacturers started doing what 
[automakers in] Detroit did: They would build 
buses when they didn't have sales, put them 
on the lots, and basically try to collar anybody 
into buying one." At the time, Littler was get- 
ting frequent calls from people who wanted 
to start bus companies. "I would go through 
the various regulatory requirements, and it 
became very obvious very quickly they didn't 
care about that," he says. 

Then, on Mother's Day in 1999, a char- 
tered bus destined for a Mississippi casino 
ran off the road and plowed through a chain- 
link fence and into an embankment. Twenty- 
two people were killed and another 22 
injured. "The driver should never have been 
behind the wheel," Littler says. "He had 
severe medical problems. He had a long- 
history of drug use. It was a relatively new 
company that grew very rapidly and simply 



should not have been in operation." 

The crash turned out to be a harbinger. 
Between 1999 and 2009, 251 people were 
killed in 67 motorcoach crashes, according to 
a study by the American Bus Association. 
More than half the deaths took place on car- 
riers that had already been cited by federal 
inspectors for unsafe practices; many of 
those were newcomers to the industry. 

The division of the Department 

of Transportation charged with governing 
bus safety is known as the Federal Motor Car- 
rier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In recent 
years, the FMCSA has had a hard time keep- 
ing up with the expanding and evolving 
industry. The Mother's Day crash prompted 
new standards that would require rigorous 
inspection of any new bus company within its 
first six months of operation. The federal law 
included medical requirements for drivers 
similar to what the Federal Aviation Adminis- 
tration mandates for pilots. Enforcement, 
though, remains 



Right now, 
someone rejected 

from a job 

trucking hazardous 

materials because 

of something in 

his background 

check can go 

out and get a 

passenger-bus 

license. 



weak. The driver in 
the March 2011 
Bronx crash was 
working under a 
false name. Cheung, 
the driver in the Vir- 
ginia crash, could 
not speak English, 
even though federal 
law requires it. Bus 
drivers are supposed 
to keep a log of their 
duty hours, and 
many companies use 
electronic punch-in 
systems to prevent 
the fudging of paper 
records. Sky Express relied on old-fashioned 
paper logbooks, and Cheung — who was 
charged with reckless driving and involuntary 
manslaughter — hadn't updated his for two 
days. His behavior was not unusual. And nei- 
ther was his ability to get away with it before 
the deadly accident. 

As it turned out, the FMCSA had cited Sky 



P0PULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 77 



UNACCEPTABLE RISK 



Express drivers for fatigue an astounding 48 
times in the two years preceding the Virginia 
crash. The company had violations for unsafe 
driving, vehicle maintenance, and hours-of- 
service rules that dictate how long a driver 
can remain behind the wheel. The upstart 
carrier — which owned 31 buses and 
employed 53 drivers — had had four prior 
highway accidents and the single worst score 
of any American bus company in the Driver Fit- 
ness category. Still, the FMCSA hadn't taken 
Sky Express off the road. 

Michele Beckjord, a survival factors expert 
at the National Transportation Safety Board 
(NTSB), says this isn't unusual. "We've got a 
lot of unsafe carriers that are getting a 'Satis- 
factory' rating, but they've got major viola- 
tions either in maintenance or in driver 
performance and behavior." The problem, 
she says, is that in order to reach the Unsatis- 
factory level in the FMCSA's numerical evalu- 
ation system, a bus carrier has to have terrible 
scores in several different areas. 




Rescue workers tow 
a motorcoach back 
onto the interstate 
after it crashed near 
Doswell, Va., on May 
31, 2011. Four of the 
58 passengers were 
killed and many more 
injured. This was the 
fifth highway accident 
for the bus company, 
Sky Express— yet it 
had a "Satisfactory" 
rating from the Federal 
Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration at the 
time of the crash. Sky 
Express's former office 
in NYC's Chinatown has 
since been taken over 
by another discount 
bus line. 



History has shown that in most 

fatal crashes, driver performance is the big- 
gest factor. "In the past, we looked at motor- 
coach drivers as being the creme de la 
creme, the kind of folks who make driving an 
art," says Stephen Evans, head of safety for 
Pacific Western, one of North America's big- 
gest bus companies. "We thought there 
wasn't a need to be watching over them. 
That's not as true anymore." 

Last year, the DOT adopted new rules stip- 
ulating that all applicants for commercial 
driver's licenses (CDLs) be required to get a 
learner's permit; previously, passing a state- 
specific written test was all that was required. 
The rules also require states to begin using a 
standardized CDL test and to ban the use of 
foreign-language interpreters, who in some 
cases are thought to perpetuate testing fraud. 
States have until 2014 to come into compli- 
ance. The law also needs to be revised to allow 
a driver's CDL to be revoked for drunk driving 
or other offenses committed in noncommer- 
cial vehicles, the DOT said. 

Right now, someone rejected from a job 



trucking hazardous materials because of 
something in his background check can go 
out and get a passenger-bus license. Lack of 
law enforcement on the roads is another 
issue. Bus drivers know they're unlikely to be 
pulled over by police officers, who don't want 
to deal with a busload of annoyed passengers. 
As a result, they feel invulnerable and often 
get away with chronic reckless driving that, 
say, a professional truck driver never could. 



Following last spring's spate of deadly crashes, 

the FMCSA made efforts to step up its enforcement. In early May, the 
agency conducted 3000 unannounced safety inspections that led to 
315 unsafe buses and 127 unfit drivers being taken off the road. 
Between January and October 2011, it shut down 37 unsafe bus compa- 
nies and proposed an unsatisfactory rating for more than a dozen 
more. Those companies normally have 45 days to appeal the FMCSA's 
findings — unless they're found to pose an imminent hazard, like the 
Michigan company that was discovered to be transporting passengers 
in the cargo hold. (There were no seats for the six people inside the 
bus, the owner explained.) The company had been fined for the same 



(CONTINUED ON PAGE 105) 



78 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



What's 11 feet tall, breathes fire, and engages dozens of bicycle gears to cross land, sand, and sea? A vehicle built to 
conquer California's Kinetic Grand Championship, by jamesvlahos photographs by mark peterson illustrations by sylviapark 





FAST 

HE CURS®U 





At the start of the three-day, 42-mile Kinetic Grand Champi- 
onship race, Botton Feeders (left) breathes fire in the plaza of 
Areata, Calif. Thirty-time participant Duane Flatmo created 
the metal beast using parts from previous years' vehicles. On 
day two, Visualize Whirled Peas (above) begins to traverse 
Humboldt Bay with the writer as a co-pilot. 



A12-FOOT-LONG PICNIC BASKET 
blocks the road ahead of us, 
a towering bottle of cabernet 
jutting from the top and ants the 
size of kindergartners scaling the 
wicker sides. As the basket sits in 
traffic, a herd of human giraffes — 
spotted tights, papier-mache 
heads — sweeps by. Then from 
behind comes the sound of clanking 
metal. I turn around to confront a 
silver sea monster on wheels. Front- 
mounted lobster claws chomp hun- 
grily, dragon jaws on the roof open 
wide, and a long tongue of flame 
scorches the sky. 

Such are the sights of the Kinetic 



Grand Championship, a three-day 
event on the northern California 
coast that is equal parts inventors' 
showcase, artistic performance, and 
serious race. It's the Daytona 500 
meets Burning Man. Using no 
motors, the picnic basket, the sea 
monster, and three dozen other 
human-powered absurdities will 
travel 42 miles between the cities of 
Areata, Eureka, and Ferndale. 
Though they look like carnival floats 
on acid, the contraptions must be 
designed to drive over pavement, 
dirt, and sand dunes, and even to 
navigate moving waters. "Kinetics is 
about art, speed, and engineering," 





says Monica Topping, former presi- 
dent of the organization that puts 
on the race. "It's the triathlon of the 
art world." 

There are nearly a dozen kinetic 
races around the United States, 
from Port Townsend, Wash., to Bal- 
timore, and all were inspired by the 
Humboldt County event. It was 
launched in 1969 by local artists 
Hobart Brown and Jack Mays and 
first won by a turtle that belched 
smoke and laid eggs. The event 
begins at Arcata's main square, 
where thousands of spectators snap 
pictures and a marching band plays 
hits from the 1980s. A slice of cake 
creeps past a pod of dolphins. A 
gangster's getaway car moves 
beside the space shuttle Endeavour. 
The Heroes of Gloryopolis rolls 
slowly along with a team of Marvel 
Comics-esque superheroes patrol- 
ling a metropolitan skyline. Ten 
pilots below pedal bikes welded to 
the remains of a Ford Ranger chas- 



sis. The machine was engineered by 
resident Carl Mueller, who, like 
many kinetic racers, has an almost 
compulsive desire to tinker with 
everything from Legos to vintage 
steam locomotives. "I was born with 
a wrench in one hand and a gear in 
the other," he says. 

And then there's the kinetic 
sculpture that I'm helping to race. 
I hunker down in a putrid-green, 
three-wheeled dune buggy called 
Visualize Whirled Peas, or VWP for 
short. Decorated with dangling ten- 
nis balls and spinning pinwheels, 
it has one tire up front and two in 
the back, and there's a similar con- 
figuration of seats for the trio of 
pilots. To my right is VWP's inven- 
tor, Mike Ransom, who built the 
contraption from donated dirt- 
track tires, abandoned bikes, and 
other dumpster-diving finds. 
Whether they are anticar environ- 
mentalists or monster-truck fans, 
most racers, like Ransom, relish 




the challenge of turning trash into 
rolling treasure. 

"How many bikes died to make 
that float?" a man on the street asks. 

"Probably about six or seven," 
Ransom says. Each VWP pilot has 
pedals underfoot and controls a set 
of either 18 or 21 bicycle gears, 
which in turn feed into six more 
gearing ranges. Ransom, a computer 
programmer at the University of 
California, Davis, boasts that VWP 
has 244,944 possible gearing combi- 
nations. "Rube Goldberg would be 
proud!" the man replies. 

A Kinetic Kop, wearing the but- 
toned coat and tall hat of a 19th- 




century British police officer, 
approaches VWP. He checks that we 
have the toothbrushes, the horn, the 
2-gallon pail, and other items man- 
dated by the gleefully arcane rules of 
the contest The inspection ends, 
and at noon, a siren cuts through the 
air. Pedaling furiously and jockeying 
for position, Team VWP makes three 
laps around the square, then heads 
west out of town. The race is on. 

KAY, BE A BUZZKILL. ASK WHY. 
| Why would people spend 

hundreds of hours to create 
all-terrain racing sculptures? The 
obvious answer is because kinetic 




Racers push Attack of the Funguys— which won the Most 
Improved and Best Pit Crew awards— up dunes on Samoa 
beach (far left). The pilots of The Jeep and The Heroes of 
Gloryopolis share a laugh at the start of the race (left). 
Woody Endeavour takes on Dead Man's Drop (above). Of 
the ACE teams— that completed the entire race without 
using relief pilots or breaking other special rules- 
Woody Endeavour finished second place for time. 



racing is fun, but the rationale goes 
deeper than that. Events like the 
Kinetic Grand Championship 
attract both studio artists and 
grease-stained engineers with the 
same intoxicating lure: an oddball 
challenge whose arbitrary con- 
straints inspire wonderfully uncon- 
ventional solutions. The mandate 
that all entries be human-powered 
makes the race more accessible to 
students and hobbyists. And the 
no-engines rule gives the race a 
third component besides artistic 
design and mechanical engineer- 
ing — human sweat. "I've always 
loved the physical, athletic part of 



the race," says racer Duane Flatmo, 
a 30-time participant. 

This year Flatmo rides in Bottom 
Feeders, the fire-breathing sea mon- 
ster he created. An artist who is as 
comfortable with paint on canvas as 
he is with taking a blowtorch to steel, 
Flatmo has competed on the TV 
show Junkyard Wars and performed 
a musical number — playing a fla- 
menco guitar with an electric egg- 
beater to strum the strings — on 
America's Got Talent He built Bottom 
Feeders with a dazzling array of recy- 
cled materials, from cupcake tins 
and colanders to irrigation equip- 
ment and pieces of airplane wings. "I 
try to create a piece of eye candy, 
something that people just can't 
help but get out their camera and 
take a picture of," Flatmo says. 

Bottom Feeders falls behind VWP 
as we pedal out of town into an agrar- 
ian landscape. Cows cluster against 
fences that line the two-lane road 
and stare at the sculptures passing 



82 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 





CRAZY RACES 

ACROSS THE U.S., BOLD TINKERERS ARE TURNING 
ORDINARY OBJECTS INTO WHOLLY ORIGINAL H0M1 
BUILT VEHICLES. FROM BAR STOOLS TO POWER 
TOOLS, HERE ARE THE WEIRD AND WACKY WAYS 
DIYERS ARE SATISFYING THEIR NEED FOR SPEED. 
by Katie Hendrick 



BAR-STOOL 
RACES 
Drummond, Wis. 

Many have barked 
brazen words from atop 
a bar stool. But only the 
truly intrepid add skis 
and take the souped-up 
seat for a ride down a 
snowy slope. The stools 
must be at least 27 
inches tall, and 
contestants have to stay 
seated for the one-fifth- 
of-a-mile sprint. The 
sitting rule began in 
2000 primarily for rider 
protection, though 
staying seated also 
lowers the center of 
gravity, which increases 
stability and speed. 

COLLEGIATE 

CONCRETE CANOE 

RACES 

Regionals nationwide 

To create the concrete 
boats for the champion- 
ship "America's Cup of 
Civil Engineering/* 
competitors use 
concrete made of 
expanded glass spheres, 
multiple cementitious 
materials, and 
specialized admixtures. 
Teams spend upward of 
4600 hours researching, 
constructing, and 
training. "You're out 
there on the lake with 
20 other teams, and 
everyone's waiting to 
see which canoes turn 
into submarines and 
which will take it away, 
usually determined by 






tenths of a second," says 
Cal Poly alumnus Kyle 
Marshall, who 
competed for four years. 

POWER-TOOL 
DRAG RACES 
Mora, Minn. 

"Until you've tasted the 
thrill of victory and 
smelled ionized 
electricity and burning 
rubber, electrical 
insulation, and, 
sometimes, flesh, you 
really haven't lived," 
says Jon Larson of Mora, 
Minn.'s annual 
power-tool race. Racers 



turn electric concrete 
saws, angle grinders, 
and other tools into 
makeshift motors that 
power skateboards, 
scooters, bikes, and 
go-karts. All entrants 
must use recognizable 
110-voIt tools (up to 20 
amps) that can be 
reused post-race. 

CYCLEKARTING 
Nationwide 

This group began as a 
handful of self- 
professed "disenfran- 



Adventurous souls leave 
their beers on the bar 
and strap skis to stools 
in Drummond, Wis.'s 
annual race (above 
left). DIYers across the 
country can embrace 
their inner mechanic 
by building retro- classy 
cyclekarts (above right). 
The duct-taped boats 
in Key West's annual 
Minimal Regatta are as 
likely to sink as make it 
to the finish line (left). 



chised, alienated, and 
enlightened eccentrics" 
with a love for DIY 
projects and disdain for 
the status seeking of the 
automobile world. 
Often inspired by actual 
cars — including 
Bentleys, Millers, and 
Bugattis — cyclekarts 
are nimble, elegant 
machines that can 
travel up to 40 mph. And 
none are as expensive as 
they look. In fact, 
Michael Stevenson of 
the Association of 
MotoCycleKartistes says 
that the group has 
dismissed members 



who created more osten- 
tatious designs. "They 
just didn't get what it's 
all about." 

MINIMAL REGATTA 
Key West, Fla. 

Key West's homebuilt- 
boat race allows only a 
few materials — a sheet 
of plywood, a pound of 
fasteners, a roll of duct 
tape, two 2 x 4s — to 
create vessels that 
resemble everything 
from surfboards to 
Spanish galleons. Steve 
King, a 20 -year veteran, 
enters for the gratifica- 
tion of "building 
something no one 
expects to float and 
knowing that sinking's 
almost as fun 
as winning." 

THE GREAT WEST 
END & RAILROAD 
SQUARE HANDCAR 
REGATTA 
Santa Rosa, Calif. 

"For the delight and 
edification of all who 
attend," this race 
challenges participants 
to relive the era when 
the railroad was king, 
while applying today's 
style and gear. The only 
regulation: no motors, 
batteries, or rubber 
bands. "Entries have to 
be human-powered," 
says event co-creator Ty 
Jones, "which means a 
lot are based on bicycles 
that are cut up and 
reloaded back in 
different configura- 
tions." Aside from the 
common presence of 
spokes, aesthetics vary 
widely. Jones has seen 
designs resembling 
traditional pump cars, 
mouse wheels, and even 
the ship from Willy 
Wonka & the Chocolate 
Factory. 




Before they become Grand Champions, ACE medalists, and 
Pageantry winners, the Tempus Fugitives— headed up by 
James Smith— enjoy a smooth section of road on their way to 
victory. It is Smith's third time racing in this machine. 



by. Cruising atop oversize tires, VWP 
passes a rickety white taco truck. 
Papier-mache skeletons, one dressed 
as a bride and the other as a groom, 
sit in the front seats and grin tooth- 
ily. Newlydeads, reads the sign over 
their heads. 

A couple of hours later, after driv- 
ing down a long stretch of beach with 
waves sliding up beneath the tires, 
we turn inland and face a steep set of 
dunes. VWP makes it up the first one 
but stalls midway up the second. No 
matter how much we strain against 
the pedals, the machine won't move 



forward. The front wheel starts lift- 
ing up off the steep slope, and the 
whole contraption tilts dangerously 
backward. "Okay, that's it!" Ransom 
calls, signaling for everyone to jump 
off. "We're pushing." After we 
reboard at the top of the hill, which 
is called Dead Man's Drop, a judge 
asks if we want to scout the steep 
descent on foot. "Nope, we'll be 
fine," Ransom replies as we wheel 
over the sandy lip. And he's right. 

THE NEXT DAY OPENS WITH A 
1-mile sojourn through Hum- 
boldt Bay. The Jeep, a black, 
1^-ton monster truck with four- 



wheel drive and four-wheel steering, 
loses a pontoon 50 yards in and 
begins to capsize, causing at least 
one co-pilot to jump overboard, 
screaming. The Jeep was overbuilt 
by design, says its maker, Chris 
Gardner. "I looked at all the other 
sculptures and they're awesome 
pieces of engineering, light, and 
little, but they're not rock crawlers," 
the 21-year-old says. "I wanted to 
build a tank." 

I'm not comforted by his acci- 
dent, nor by the conversation I had 
the day before with Dave Richards, a 

(CONTINUED ON PAGE 104) 



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84 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 




J Personal 
c Prototyping 

IF IT'S GOOD ENOUGH 
FOR BOEING, IT'S GOOD 
^ ENOUGH FOR YOU: 
C 3D MODELING (AND 
[3 PRINTING) HAS COME OF 
AGE. BY JOHN HERRMAN 



O 



© There was nothing wrong 
with Stijn van der Linden's 
screwdriver set, save for one 
'O thing: Years of use had worn 
iway identifying marks from 
the handles. Tired of fumbling 
through a pile of tools every 
time he needed a No. 2 Phil- 
lips, van der Linden sat down 
at his computer. Using a PC 
program called 3ds Max, he 
created a complete 3D model 
of a labeled, ordered case, 



FIXING SCREEN SCRATCHES + 



.PHONE SURVIVALISM + SUPER-RESOLUTIONS 



ILLUSTRATION BY KRISTINA COLLANTES 



P0PULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 85 



custom-fitted for his old tools. 

When he was finished, he sent the 
file to his desktop prototypes or 3D 
printer. About an hour later his tool 
case materialized in white ABS plastic. 
Everything fit perfectly. 

Van der Linden, an electrical engineer 
by training, is admittedly not a beginner: 
3ds Max is a professional 3D tool used 
to create, among other things, computer 
graphics for Hollywood films such as Iron 
Man and Avatar, and his 3D printer, the 
pp3dp Up, retails for more than 82500. 

Nonetheless, he says, the appeal of 
DIY 3D modeling and printing is univer- 
sal. "You're losing a lot of the limitations 
in the physical world/' he says. "For my 
whole life, I always wanted to make 
stuff. Now I can make anything I want/' 
It's true: An influx of easy-to-use soft- 
ware and on-demand printing services 
has made it possible for DIY-minded 
individuals— not just professional engi- 
neers—to render their designs, be they 
brand-new inventions or just hard-to- 
find replacement parts, in 3D and have 
them printed in plastic, glass, or even 
metal. Here's how to get started. 

3D for the Masses 

When most people think of 3D 
modeling, they think of CAD (short for 
computer-aided design). CAD conjures 
images of engineers toiling over green- 
on-black wireframes. This perception 
isn't entirely unfounded; 3D CAD model- 
ing of the advanced, inscrutable sort 
has changed what it means to be an 
engineer and revolutionized everything 
from toy design to aviation. It has also 
been, until recently, almost completely 
inaccessible to civilians. 

Today, though, 3D modeling has qui- 
etly opened to the mainstream. Free or 
affordable tools have emerged that are 
designed with ordinary people in mind. 

More importantly, these tools have 
found real, practical roles. Some, like 
traditional CAD programs, help people— 
tinkerers, inventors, artists— visualize 
objects in three dimensions. Others sim- 
ply help you plan a new room in your 
home or reconfigure an old one. 



Getting Started 

€' The biggest hurdle for would-be 3D-modelers isn't the price or the complex- 
ity of the software— it's the overabundance of options. There are pro-level modeling 
and rendering suites, finicky engineering tools, and simplified-to-the-point-of-useiess- 
ness art apps. In search of an entry point, I found an app called Tinkercad. 

This free application runs inside a Web browser on nearly any PC or Mac and con- 
tains just the right level of functionality— it's capable enough for real 3D modeling, but 
not so complex as to put you off. It's a solid-modeling program— much like most pro- 
fessional CAD apps— which means that its models are an agglomeration of points in 
space rather than a hollow group of stitched-together polygons. With its emphasis on 
solid, volumetric materials, this type of modeling is particularly well-suited for 3D 
printing, and Tinkercad has a button that creates a 3D-printer-ready file instantly. 

To get started, navigate to tinkercad.com and create a free user account. I was 
presented with a blank slate— or, in the parlance of 3D modeling, an open work 
plane. Building in Tinkercad is conceptually simple: In the Add mode, you select a 
shape— a box, a pyramid, a cone, or a cylinder— along with a size. You then stamp 
this shape into 3D space; clicking and dragging will stretch the shape as far as you 
want. The Sub (for 'subtract") mode lets you use the same shapes for object removal. 
One of the easiest practical projects is a shirt button: With the Add tool, stamp a disc 
that's 16 mm wide and 2 mm thick. With the Sub tool set at 3 mm wide and 
2 mm thick, stamp out two buttonholes near the center of the disc. That's it. 

My first nonbutton project was admittedly a modest one: a Popular Mechanics 
paperweight. It was to be about 4 inches wide, with a thick, 1-inch-deep base. Our 
trademark PM lettering would be perched on top. (Swap for your initials if you want 
to follow along.) 

Modeling a shirt button takes about 2 minutes; my paperweight took a great deal 
longer— about an hour, including 15 minutes to get used to the app and no small 
amount of trial and error. Getting used to the stamp-and-cut behavior of the program 
was the biggest challenge; in its current incarnation, there's no way to move or resize 
an object— a block, for example— after it's been placed on the grid. Getting the spac- 
ing of the letters right took a few tries. 

The core of the paperweight was composed of just seven shapes: one block for the 
base, four blocks for the M, and one block and a disc for the P. After creating the core, it 



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was a matter of cutting, trimming, 
and adding accents. I subtracted 
small pieces of material from the 
middle of the M to match our iconic 
typography and carved out a hole 
for the P. I used small cubes to 
stamp serifs onto the letters and 
did cleanup with a 1 x 1-mm sub- 
tract tool. The end result was good 
enough. The next step was to make 
the paperweight real. 

3D Printing 

Popular Mechanics has devoted 
a fair number of pages in the past 
few years to a company called 
MakerBot, whose 3D printers can 
create small, plastic prototypes in 
just a few minutes— all they need is 
a healthy supply of ABS plastic and 
a 3D-model template from a pro- 
gram like Tinkercad. MakerBot's 
machines are affordable, but only 
relatively: At $1000, they're far 
cheaper than industrial prototyping 
machines, but out of reach for 
most hobbyists— including me. 
Plus, I was making a paperweight, 
and MakerBots print only in plastic. 
I wanted something with heft- 
glass or stone or even metal. That's 
where Shapeways, an on-demand 
3D printing service, came in. 

Sending my model to Shape- 
ways was a two-step process: 
From Tinkercad I exported my proj- 
ect as an STL file, the industry stan- 
dard for 3D printing; at shapeways 
.com I just clicked the Upload but- 
ton on the front page. Ten minutes 
later, I got a message saying that 
my model had been approved, and I 
was presented with nearly 20 
choices of materials. For $25, I 
could have the project printed in 
ceramic. For $930, 1 could have it 
cast in sterling silver. I made my 
selection (sandstone, $36) and I 
would have my paperweight within 
two weeks. I've already chosen a 
followup project: Ever the picky 
tech editor, I'm custom-designing a 
case for my smartphone. 





Half CAD tool, half video 
game, Autodesk Home- 
styler (homestyIer.com) 
lets you visualize home- 
improvement plans in 3D. 
Virtual rooms can be 
furnished with products 
from companies including 
Kohler, Kitchen Aid, and 
DuPont. You can then 
explore the finished room 
in real-time 3D, or export 
it as a photorealistic 
rendering. 



Advanced Prototyping 

. Software for 3D modeling ranges in price from free to thousands of dollars 
and varies hugely in complexity. Tinkercad is a fantastic starting point, but you'll hear 
a lot of other names when you dive into the world of 3D modeling. 

SketchUp, by Google, is a popular program by virtue of its tie-in with the compa- 
ny's 3D-mapping program, Google Earth. (Google encourages users to populate its 
virtual maps with 3D replicas of real buildings.) Blender, another free program, is an 
open-source alternative to professional programs such as 3ds Max. It's versatile— 
there's really nothing you can't do in Blender— but it has a steep learning curve. 

The app 123D, new from Autodesk, the company that makes the industry- 
standard professional CAD software, is a well-balanced tool kit for intermediate 
3D-modelers and connects natively with Shapeways for easy 3D printing. Once 
you're comfortable in a program like Tinkercad, you can find your way in 123D. 

There's room to grow with Shapeways as well. Once you're satisfied with your 
design, you can list it for sale on the site. You choose the material options and markup, 
and they handle the ordering, printing, and shipping. "Three-D modeling started as a 
hobby," says van der Linden, but after launching a product line that includes kinetic 
toys, geometric sculpture, jewelry, and desk lamps (Shapeways can print objects up to 
about 27 x 15 x 22 inches), it's quickly becoming a healthy source of income. 

Roman Vasyliev, a freelance designer, had been building model cars and airplanes 
for years before discovering 3D printing. His obsessively detailed World War l-era 
aircraft models now net a steady stream of income. (The top seller is a l:44-scale 
model of the Caudron G.4, a French biplane bomber.) "I was really surprised that 
3D modeling has become another branch of my hobby," he says, "and now, my work." 

Modeling and printing in 3D has everyday applications, too. In an hour or two, 
Tinkercad or 123D can help you replace that once-irreplaceable knob on your price- 
less old guitar amp, for example. Last year a man named Duann Scott asked the 
manufacturer of his high-end baby stroller, Bugaboo, for a part to repair a broken 
hub lock. When the company said it would charge $250, he scoffed. Scott took 
apart the hub, figured out what he needed, modeled the parts on his own, and had 
them printed in stainless steel. Total cost: $15. pm 



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88 MARCH 2012 



POPULARME 




Digital Clinic 



by John Herrman 




My tablet slid off 

my lap and onto 

a concrete floor. 

Everything still 

works, but now 

the screen's got 

a bunch of 

scratches. Is 

there anyway 

to fix this? 



Screen-Scratch Surgery 

I wasn't able to find a commercial product that claims to fix scratches 
on a glass touchscreen, but a Google search turned up a variety of 
improvised remedies. These run the gamut from fishy to believable, but have 
one thing in common: a near-total lack of substantiation. I decided to sacri- 
fice a disused iPhone 3G for testing, a process that started with a pair of 
keys and ended, painfully, with a screwdriver. 

One standout claim is that a coat of Turtle Wax will minimize scratches; in 
my testing, it did nothing of the sort, and left behind a thin film of wax, which 
attracted fingerprints. Others point to 3M scratch remover for cars as a pos- 
sibility; three rigorous applications did nothing for the iPhone. Displex, a polish 
for plastic screens and another favorite among online DIYers, left the screen 
immaculately shiny and seemed to darken the appearance of scratches, but 
this was a temporary effect of lingering residue. I even scrubbed the screen 



PHOTOGRAPH BY PHILIP FRIEDMAN 



with toothpaste until my arm was sore, which had no lasting effect. 

There is, of course, an extreme option: glass buffing. With a small drill attachment 
and a tub of cerium oxide compound (and for deep scratches, some sandpaper), it is 
possible to grind scratches out of a screen, the same way you would buff scratches 
out of auto glass. My testing indicates that this is a very bad idea. Glass grinding 
requires the steady application of wet-mixed cerium oxide, which is quite messy, and 
sprayed water, a natural enemy of all things electronic. I attempted to seal the phone 
with tape, but the sticky cerium slop found its way into almost every opening, drying 
like a fine cement. 

As for the scratches, I was just starting to see improvement when I noticed a new 
type of blemish. My inconsistent water application had resulted in overheating, which 
destroyed an area of the underlying LCD. For a touchscreen device, glass grinding is, 
in other words, overkill, with an emphasis on "kill." 

The best solution, short of screen replacement, is a screen-protector film. It won't 
just shield from future scratches— it will make some shallow ones invisible. 

Give Me a Signal -» If I'm lost in the woods, should I climb to the top of a 
hill to get cell reception? 

Satellites play no role in cellphone reception, so getting closer to the sky, or getting a 
clear shot at it, won't necessarily result in a connection. Cellular reception largely 
depends on how close you are to a cell tower, what geographical and man-made 
obstructions stand in between, and how many people are using the tower at a par- 
ticular time (more users decreases a towers range). 

That said, elevation can help. "It's hard to say that this is a hard and fast rule of 
thumb," says Brian Josef, assistant vice president of regulatory affairs at the CTIA- 
The Wireless Association, but climbing to get reception is 'common sense." A higher 
elevation could put you in line of sight with a cell tower, which may help you get that 
one crucial bar of coverage. 

This common sense applies only if coverage is a possibility; a truly remote 
location is not likely to have any service at all. Ken Phillips, chief of emergency 
services at Grand Canyon National Park, warns that the blind pursuit of cellphone 
connectivity could be counterproductive. "In the vast majority of the canyon, there's 
no cell coverage," he says. By climbing to the top of a rock formation or butte, 
especially during severe weather, "you're just exposing yourself to risk." If you're 
genuinely lost, focus on your situation, not your tech: Gather water, build shelter, 
and stay put. 

Super Hi-ReS •* My phone has a 4.65-inch display with 720p resolution. 
My TV is 720p too, but it's a 40-incher. Why don't TVs have much higher 
resolutions? 

Here's a quick back-of-the-napkin calculation: If a 40-inch TV were as pixel-dense as 
a 720p smartphone, it would have a resolution of about 6200 x 11,000 pixels— 
6200p. Manufacturers are beginning to tease TVs with 4K displays (that's 3840 x 
2160 pixels), but Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, says 
that there isn't much to gain from a resolution race. For direct-view HDTVs, in 
American homes, it's absolutely point- 



L 



less to increase the resolution [beyond 
HD]/' he says. "A phone is held at 10 or 
12 inches, and a TV is typically viewed at 
least 6 feet away. At those distances the 
resolution, to your eye, is the same." And 
then there's the issue of price: The first 
4KTVs will cost about $10,000. pm 



Got a technology problem? 

Ask John about it. Send your questions 
to pmdigitalclinic@ihearst.com. 
While we cannot answer 
questions individually, problems 
of general interest will be 
discussed in the column. 



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STURDY BENCH WITH A CLASSIC LOOK PROVIDES simply sitting outside on a beautiful day. Its even more 
A GREAT ACCENT IN ANY YARD, by Joseph truini satisfying if you sit with somebody, and if the seat is some- 
thing you've built, well, so much the better. We'd like to help 
by suggesting your next project— this garden bench. Start with seven pieces of 
lumber and a handful of hardware. Spend a couple of free afternoons cutting and 
boring. When you're done, you'll have fine seating for one or two— in fact, three 
kids could even rest comfortably on it. It's built to last, with a slatted top made 
from 2x4 lumber turned on edge, bolted to stout 4x4 legs. We recommend 
using Western red cedar, which is naturally rot resistant. Build a bench now, and 
you'll be ready for that first warm day this year and for years to come. 



PHOTOGRAPH BY LAJOS GEENEN 



P0PULARMECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 91 



^y» 



Home classic garden bench 



Cutting and 
Drilling 



MAKE THE SHOULDER CUTS 

-> With a power miter saw or 
a circular saw and a crosscut 
guide, cut four legs, nine seat 
boards, and 12 spacers to 
length. Cut the tenon into the 
top of each leg with a table 
saw. Make a shoulder cut into 
opposite sides of each leg. 
Clamp a small stop block to 
the rip fence, and adjust it so 
the outside of the blade is 3 1 /£ 
inches from the stop block. 
With the blade set to l 3 / 8 
inches high, butt the leg 
against the stop block, and 
use the miter gauge to push 
it across the blade [1]. 

PARE TO PERFECTION 

■* Flip the leg over and make 
the second shoulder cut. 
Repeat for the other three 
legs. Move the fence to the 
side and, while holding the leg 
against the miter gauge, 
make repeated passes over 
the blade to remove the bulk 
of each tenon. Pare away 
slivers of wood with a 
razor-sharp chisel [2]. 

ADD THE SPACER BLOCKS 

-> Blocks 3 A inches thick and 
3Y> inches square must be 
nailed to six 2 x 4 seat boards 
as spacers. Using polyure- 
thane glue and 114-inch 4d 
galvanized finishing nails, 
fasten a block with the 
outer edge 3 1 /2 inches from 
each end [3]. 



ATTACH THE LEGS 

-> Use the glue and 1%-inch 
galvanized decking screws 
to fasten a leg at each end 
of two seat boards that 
don't have spacers attached 
[4]. Mark center points on the 
two outer seat boards for the 
counterbored holes for 
the nuts and rods that hold 
the seat together. On these 
points, drill a !4-inch-deep 




hole with a 1-inch-diameter 
spade bit. The counterbored 
holes will receive a wood plug 
to hide the hex nuts on the 
ends of the threaded rods. 

BORE THE ROD HOLES 

-> To drill the %6-inch- 
diameter holes for the rods, 



make a plywood jig and bolt it 
onto a drill guide. This ensures 
that the hole through each 
piece is accurately positioned 
relative to the board's end. 
Hold the jig against the end 
of each seat board, then 
drill through the board and 
spacer block [5]. 



Bench 
Assembly 



CLAMP THE PARTS 

Glue and clamp the parts 
together on a workbench 
[6]. Hacksaw each threaded 
rod to a length of 19 inches. 
Thread a nut onto the end of 



92 


MARCH 2012 


1 POPULARMECHANICS 


COM j 


1 


^ Home classic garden bench 






each rod, then remove the 
nut, to clean up saw damage. 
Feed each rod through its 
hole; use light hammer 
strikes, if necessary. 



FINISHING TOUCHES 

-> Place a washer and nut 
on the ends of each rod, 
and ratchet tight with a 
9 /i6-inch socket [7]. Glue a 
dowel plug into each hole 
and cut it flush to the face 
of the seat board [8, 9]. 
Smooth surfaces with belt 
and orbital sanders, using 
80- and 100-grit sandpaper, 
respectively. Use a clean 
brush to remove sanding 
dust, and apply a clear wood 
preservative. This should 
provide sufficient protection 
for the wood, but to preserve 
the finish, keep fallen leaves 
brushed off (tannins will stain 
it), and store the bench 
indoors in winter, pm 



A jig guide 




to ensure 
precise hole 



3 /s-in.-dia. x 19-in. 
threaded rod 

(two) 



2x4 

seat boards 

ltex3 1 Ax47 1 Ain. 

(nine) 




3 A-in. nuts 
and washers 

(four) 



1x4 

spacers 

34x316x316 in. 

with Vie-in.-dia. 

center hole 

(twelve) 



Counterbored hole 
% in. deep x 1 in. dia. 



Leg 4x4x18 in. 

(four) 





Shopping 
List 


2 x 4 x 8 ft (5 pieces) 3 /s-in. hex nuts l 5 /s-in. decking 

1 x 4 x 4 ft (1 a\ece\ and washers ( 4 of screws (1 box) 
i x 4 x 4 Tt u piece; each) Note . 0utside 

4 x 4 x 8 ft (1 Diece) diameter is Vie in. Polyurethane glue 






3 /s-in.-dia. x 36-in. l-in.-dia. wooden l 1 /£-in. (4d) galvanized 
threaded rod (2) dowel (1) finishing nails (1 box) 









ILLUSTRATION BY GEORGE RETSECK 




.COM | MARCH 2012 93 



Take it easy when boring big 
holes. Regardless of the bit you 
use, back off to clear chips and 
sawdust, then proceed. It'll be 
easier on you, the drill, and the bit. 




Bore, Baby, Bore! 

I've got some basement remodeling to do 
that entails drilling large holes in studs and 
joists. What works better, a holesaw or one 
of those big drill bits that plumbers use? I 
have a ]^-inch drill. Will that do the trick, or 
should I rent a larger one? 



When plumbers and electricians need to drill a large hole in framing lumber or 
other material— to make way for pipes and wiring— they usually opt for a self- 
feed bit (above). Such bits max out at a diameter of about 4 inches. Another choice 
for the pros is the auger bit, which can drill holes about half that size. Holesaws pres- 
ent a third option, though they can be problematic, which I address below. 

The last part of your question tells me that you understand an important, basic 
fact about using these bits: It takes a big drill with lots of torque to spin them. 
Plumbers and electricians use specialized tools with the chuck at a right angle to 
the motor. The 90-degree design allows what is known as a joist drill, or a stud-and- 
joist drill, to fit between wall studs and floorjoists while driving the stubby self-feed 
bit. A popular version of the tool is the Milwaukee Hole Hawg (great name, eh?), an 
1 Impound machine with a long piece of pipe for a handle. More advanced versions 



of these drills have a clutch 
that prevents them from 
breaking your arm if the bit 
grinds to a halt and the 
torque transfers to the han- 
dle. Note: The Hole Hawg 
does not have a clutch; if 
you're concerned about this, 
opt for Milwaukee's Super 
Hawg, which has a clutch in 
the low-speed setting. 

So, can a standard 
36-inch drill power a self-feed 
bit? Maybe. Your drill will 
certainly get a workout— 
and you may risk frying the 
motor— if you use a bit 
larger than 2 inches. Any bit 
bigger than that probably 
dictates that you rent a 
more powerful drill; ditto if 
you're going to be cutting a 
lot of holes. Even so, this 
type of drilling is tough 
work. Take your time, and 
be sure to use a 12-gauge 
heavy-duty extension cord. 

That brings us to hole- 
saws. Certainly one of these 
bits can bore through fram- 
ing lumber, especially when 
chucked into a 3^-inch drill. 
But holesaws have some 
drawbacks. Their shape and 
cutting action don't eject 
chips and sawdust, so you 
have to repeatedly back out the saw to 
clear debris. That makes a holesaw 
slower in thick material than a self- 
feed bit. You also need to pry out the 
plug of wood that the saw creates. 
Better-quality holesaws have stepped 
slots in their body to make removing 
the plug easier. 

Be sure to gauge the size and posi- 
tion of any hole you drill so that it 
doesn't damage the framing lumber. 
The International Residential Code 



PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK FERRARI 



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Home HOMEOWNERS CLINIC Q+A 



1 


KMOW YOUR STUFF 


BIG HOLES AND THE TOOLS THAT MAKE THEM 




-' 




For thick materials, consider the 
self-feed bit. 

The self-feed bit is the go-to accessory 
for plumbers and electricians. Its large 
center screw pulls the bit into thick 
wood, hence its name. Its big teeth and 
cutting lip carve out the wood, sending 
chips flying in all directions. 



The holesaw is better suited to 
cutting holes in thinner materials. 

This accessory saws out a plug-shaped 
waste piece. While it works well in thick 
construction lumber, it's far more 
effective in thin materials such as 
drywall and plywood. Bimetal types can 
even cut sheet metal. 




TORQUE MASTERS YOU CAN RENT OR BUY 

The DeWalt DWD220 (1) has an E clutch that shuts down the tool to keep it from 
locking up and transferring the torque to you. It's rated for self-feed bits up to 2 9 /i6 
inches. Milwaukee's 1675-6 Hole Hawg (2) is legendary for power and durability. It's 
rated for self-feed bits up to 4 5 /s inches. Makita's DA4000LR (3) is really a Winch drill 
with a removable head that can rotate 360 degrees for increased hole-boring access. 
It's rated for self-feed bits up to 4 5 /s inches. 



PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICK FERRARI 



allows a hole that's up to 40 percent 
of the width of a stud in load-bearing 
walls or 60 percent in nonbearing 
walls. (That translates to holes of 
l 3 /8 inches or 2Vs inches.) In either 
case, the hole should not be closer 
than s /b inch to the lumber's edge. 

Those are the basics. For a more 
detailed take on the topic, have a 
look at the Western Wood Products 
Association's notching and boring 
guide online. 

Caulk Talk I'm installing 
baseboard, door, and window-trim 
molding. I'd like your opinion: 
Should I caulk the trim to the wall? 

In most cases, it's not necessary to 
caulk trim, especially if you carefully 
nail it to the studs so that the trim 
pulls tightly against the wall. But if 
you need to fill some gaps, use caulk 
sparingly. Cut the tube tip to a small 
opening and be fastidious about wip- 
ing off excess material. 

To be clear, I don't have a problem 
with caulk; in fact, I use it all the time. 
But generally speaking, it's overused. 
Sloppy application is common, and 
not pretty. When the caulk begins to 
pull away from the trim and the wall, 
things can get ugly. If you use high- 
quality trim and do a good installa- 
tion job, you can avoid the need to 
caulk altogether. 

Through the Roof c im in 

the military and have moved 
around a lot. Over the years I've 
lived in seven or eight houses, and 
I'm now considering buying a place 
in New Mexico. There's one house 
in particular I really like, but I'm 
concerned that its dryer vent goes 
up through the roof. Every house 
I've lived in vented the dryer 
through an exterior wall. Is venting 
a dryer through the roof unsafe? I 
don't see how it can work. 
Lots of houses vent the dryer 
through the roof, so I wouldn't say 
it's unsafe— I would say it's not desir- 
able. The exhaust stream from the 



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Home HOMEOWNERS CLINIC Q+A 



dryer is fighting gravity the entire way 
making it almost certain that you need 
a booster fan in the dryer duct. It's 
important to clean the dryer duct regu- 
larly which is difficult if it exits through 
the roof. You need to get into the attic, 
disconnect the duct from the booster 
fan, and inspect and clean the fan 
blades. One manufacturer, Fantech, rec- 
ommends doing this every six months! 

You also need to periodically inspect 
and clean the vent cap, which has a 
sharp internal bend in it. Cleaning a 
typical dryer duct takes only a few min- 
utes to an hour. You'll probably need 
twice that amount of time to do the 
same job on a roof vent. 

My final objection is one of aes- 
thetics. A roof vent can leave ugly lint 
deposits on shingles. 

Bottom line: If it's the only way to 
vent the dryer, that's one thing, but I'd 
investigate other options. 

Up Against the Wall we 

bought some very inexpensive but 
beautiful face-frame kitchen cabinets 
at a store that sells recycled building 
materials, but nobody we've talked to 
agrees on the size and type of screw 
for attaching them to each other or to 
the wall. Please help. 
That makes sense. There are many dif- 
ferent cabinet types and materials, and 
there isn't one size or type of screw that 
will work with all of them. It wasn't that 
long ago that many carpenters went 
merrily about their business, putting in 
cabinets with nothing more than dry- 
wall screws. These aren't designed for 
wood-to-wood fastening, especially for 
heavy, concentrated loads produced by 
a cabinetful of dishes and glassware. If 
someone has told you to use drywall 
screws, disregard that advice. 

Also, given that they are recycled 
cabinets, I wouldn't advise using the 
screw holes from the previous installa- 
tion. You don't want to drive a screw 
into an existing hole and hit a snapped- 
off fastener lurking there, or find that 
the original installation was sloppy and 
using those holes pulls the cabinet face 



frames out of line. Bore fresh pilot holes 
and cover the old ones with tinted 
wood filler such as Color Putty 

Home centers, lumberyards, and 
online woodworking supply houses 
(rockler.com, for example) sell a special- 
ized screw that's ideally suited for fas- 
tening kitchen cabinets to the wall. It 
goes by different names: cabinet screw, 
washer-head screw, washer-head cabi- 
net screw, or button-head screw. Its 
large-diameter head bears down firmly 
on the cabinet's hanging rail, ensuring a 
solid installation. Attach the cabinets to 
the wall using No. 8 or No. 10 screws, 
approximately 3 1 A inches long. The best 
make of this screw that I've seen is the 
one by GRK. It has a corrosion-resistant 
finish, an aggressive wood-cutting 
thread shape, and an extremely sharp 
split tip that makes it easy to start. 

To attach the cabinets to each other, 
use a No. 8 214-inch-long trim-head 
screw with a fine thread suited for hard- 
wood. This fastener's small-diameter 
head is unobtrusive, so you don't have 
to hide it under a cap or wood plug. 

By way of general advice, there are a 
variety of tools you'll need for this instal- 
lation: a stud finder, drill bits, and coun- 
tersink bits to make the pilot holes for 
the screws; two carpenter's levels (a 
2-foot one and a 4-foot one); clamps for 
holding the cabinet face frames in posi- 
tion as you bore the screw holes; and, 
of course, a reasonably powerful drill 
driver. I prefer an 18-volt model for this 
work. Mind you, you also need general 
carpentry tools such as a circular saw 
(for cutting filler strips), a chalk line, a 
razor knife, and a chisel. A small laser 
level is certainly helpful, though not 
absolutely necessary. pm 



Got a home-maintenance or 
repair problem? Ask Roy about it. 
Send your questions to 
pmhomeclinic@hearst.com or to 

Homeowners Clinic, Popular Mechan- 
ics, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 
10019-5899. While we cannot answer 
questions individually, 
problems of general interest will ^^ 
be discussed in the column. frj 











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98 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



0fc 



Home PM SATURDAY 



Pipe Chime 

A SIMPLE ASSEMBLAGE 
OF PIPE, TWINE, 
SCREWS, AND LUMBER 
USES ANCIENT GREEK 
GEOMETRY AND THE 
PENTATONIC SCALE TO 
COAX A SWEET SONG 
FROM A GENTLE BREEZE. 
BY WILLIAM GURSTELLE 



1 + 



GATHER MATERIALS 



MAP PIPE MOUNTS 



CUE PYTHAGORAS 



Round up at least 5 feet of Type 
M 34-inch copper tubing, seven 
eye screws, five No. 6 1-inch 
machine screws and nuts, nylon 
twine, and 1x6 lumber. 

2 + 1 

Center a 4 1 /£-inch-diameter 
circle in a 5 1 /£-inch-square cut of 
lumber. Mark the circle at five 
equidistant points. Insert eye 
screws at the circle's center 
and at all five points. 

Cut five pieces of tubing to the 
lengths in the table below and 
deburr. "me chime's five notes, 
which correspond to a piano's 
black keys, make up the minor 
pentatonic scale, "me notes are 
pleasing in any order. The 
ancient Greeks such as 
Pythagoras were the first to 
study the link between the 
length of a vibrating body and 
the notes of a musical scale. 

4-H 

Drill a 5 /32-inch hole through 
each pipe as listed in the table. 
These hanging points produce 
the best chime resonance. 
Insert a machine screw through 
the hole and fit a nut onto the 
screw shank. Tie a 7-inch 
length of twine from the circle 
of eye screws to the screw 
shank in each pipe. 



TIE WITH TWINE 



5 + \ 



HANG THE CHIME 



Use a 23i-inch holesaw to cut a 
clapper from a lx scrap. Use 
more lx waste to make a 
V-shaped, 3-inch-long wind 
scoop. Hang each from the 
center eye screw. Cut and glue 
two smaller lx squares to the 
top of the first square. 
Top-center-mount an eye screw 
in the smallest square. Hang the 
chime in the breeze and enjoy. 




MUSICAL PITCH I LENGTH 



HANG POINT from too 



C- sharp 


1VA inches 


2 9 /ie inches 


D- sharp 


10% inches 


27ie inches 


F-sharp 


10 inches 


234 inches 


G -sharp 


97ie inches 


2 1 /a inches 


A- sharp 


8% inches 


2 inches 




Start Smithing 
+ Learn to work 
metal by the 
banks of the 
Mississippi with 
master black- 
smith Alfred 
Bullermann at 
Memphis, Tenn/s 
Forging on the 
River, March 30 
to April 1. 

Get Rare Scrap 
+ Find a rare part 
to finish a project 
and network with 
like-minded 
craftsmen at 
the St. Charles 
Machinist Hall 
Swap Meet 
March 3 at 
the Bridgeton 
Machinist Hall 
in St. Louis. 

Know the Ropes 
+ As spring 
projects begin, 
call the building 
department to 
see which jobs 
require permits. 
Dull, yes, but 
worth the effort. 
A violation can 
lead to a work 
stoppage or fine, 
and penalties can 
come years later 
when selling the 
house or filing 
insurance claims. 

Stack Stones 
+ Learn how 
to build dry-laid 
retaining or 
freestanding 
walls at Queen 
City Soil & 
Stone's 
stone-wall 
workshop March 
10 and 17 in 
Hinesburg,Vt. 

Make a Motor 
+ Every Tuesday 
afternoon in 
March, aerospace 
engineers (and 
parents) George 
Kirkman and Bing 
Jiang teach kids 
age 5 and up to 
wire circuits, 
make electromag- 
nets, and build 
simple motors at 
Glendale, Calif/s 
Tech Starter 
workshops. 



ILLUSTRATION BY DIEGO MORALES 



MECHANICS.COM | MARCH 2012 99 





Auto 



Saturday 
Mechanic 




degree of difficulty 
MODERATE 



Electric-powered, self-extending 
antenna masts used to be a telltale 
sign of a fancy, feature-laden car. 
As is the case with many electro- 
mechanical parts, however, power 
antennas usually end up requiring 
repair. Run through a carwash with 
one extended and you'll have what 
looks like a bent hanger sticking out of 
the fender. Today, power antenna 
masts have been replaced with fixed 
antennas or wires embedded in 
windshields, but there are still 
plenty of cars out there with 
these telescoping menaces. 
Broken antennas get stuck 
all the way up, all the way 
down, or often somewhere 
in between. The shabby 
appearance of, and stunted 
radio reception on, an other- 
wise perfectly good car 
means that replacing or repair- 
ing an antenna is a worthwhile fix. 
It's almost too bad these have 
gone out of style; they are actually 
pretty elegant in a Rube Goldberg 
kind of way. An electric motor hidden 
below the fender turns nylon gears 
that eventually mesh with a toothed 
nylon rope matching the gears. That 
rope extends all the way through the 
hollow antenna sections and mounts 
to the tip. As the motor turns the 



PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN KELLY 



100 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 



tf^ 



IU^ AutC POWER-ANTENNA REPAIR 



gears, the rigid rope is pushed or pulled 
and the mast advances or retracts, 
stopping based on either a digital 
counter or timer or on a measured 
spike in voltage when the motor can't 
turn anymore. 

As you might imagine, there are 
several ways these antennas malfunc- 
tion. The most prevalent is a bent 
mast— even slight tweaks to the tight- 
fitting telescoping tubes can cause 
havoc. The nylon bits are a problem, 



too; teeth from the gears or rope break off from wear or cold or the rope snaps along 
the length. Sometimes the antenna fails when the componentsjust plain get dirty- 
rain and dust infiltrate the mechanism, and things grind to a halt. Below we're going 
to walk through the general steps of removing the whole assembly, taking it apart, 
then cleaning and replacing the problem parts. 



i 



,; 



P 




klj 




L 4 


3 M 




STEP THREE 


the tube, then 


1 1 




& « 






Fix the Bits 


seat the base into 


^- 












the housing. You 


■ 1 










If the telescoping 


may need to gently 


PJ 






c ^9 ^v 




mast is the problem, 
remove it by taking 
off the bushing at the 


tap it home with a 
hammer. Fully extend 
the antenna, then 










top of the guide tube; 


mesh the end of the 






rnmF %V ^A 




^k ^y ~A 


it keeps the mast in 


nylon cord back into 






•^H 


RJ 




place. With a firm 


the gear drive and 










V A 


grip, pull the mast 
out along with the 


reassemble the 
cover and housing. 






' «2 v •^tf 






W] 3 


^^ i'-p""*"' 




nylon rope; pliers may 


With the mechanism 


i 






m % s 


K 1 ^V 


be needed. Clean 
everything, including 


still loose, plug in the 
electrical connec- 














^B^ 




the gears, with a mild 


tions, then turn the 




STEP ONE 


disconnect the 






cleaner like dish 


radio on and off. "mis 




Extract the 


ground strap, antenna 




^^^^^^BSk 


detergent. Lubricate 


should cause the 




Problem Part 


signal wire, and 
motor-control wires. 


Ht | 




the clean gears and 
housing with white 


gears to pull on the 
nylon rope and 




First, you'll need to 


Be careful with the 






lithium grease; it 


retract the mast. If 




get to the mecha- 
nism. If the antenna is 


rnnnprtnr*; hpran<;p 






work*; wpII pvppi at 


the mast doesn't go 
down, the gears of 




LUI II ICvLUI 3 UCLOUOC 

they will be reused. 






Wvl l\j VVCII CVdl CI L 

low temperatures. 




rear-fender-mounted, 


Remove the assembly 


housing and gear "1 


rierewill undoubt- 




the nylon rope may 




remove the trunk trim ; 


by pulling the antenna 


cover, as the nylon € 


dly be old, dirty 


STEP FOUR 


not be properly 




panels to gain access. 


mast down through 


cord within might g 


xease that may or 


Reinstall the 


aligned, so you'll 




Front-fender units 


the fender. 


spring out and fling r 


nay not be the 


Unit 


have to try again. 




maybe inside the 




smaller parts. Inside, p 


roblem but should 




Reinstall the 




engine bay or behind 




you'll see how the b 


e cleaned out. 


If new gears are 


assembly and bolt 




the inner fender. 


Dissect and 


motor, gears, and 1 


ispect everything 


called for, assemble 


the mast bushing 




You'll likely need a 


Diagnose 


nylon rope work e 


Ise for signs of 


them as before; most 


back in place. Now 




few screwdrivers and 




together. If the teeth c 


a mage; if a major 


of the time they just 


enjoy one less 




wrenches. The 


Uncover the device's 


on the rope or gears p 


art such as the 


drop into place. 


annoyance, at least 




mechanism is usually 


guts by extracting 


are stripped, you'll r 


ousing or motor is 


Compress the mast 


until you forget to 




easy to remove- 


the cover screws. 


need to remove all t 


roken, replace the 


completely and run 


turn off the radio in a 




loosen any bolts and 


Carefully remove the 


the broken pieces. v 


vhole assembly. 


the nylon rope down 


carwash again, pm 










PHOTOGRAPHS 


BY BRIAN KELLY 



. 



ULARMECHANICS.COM HIaRCH 2012 101 



Car Clinic 

by Ben Wojdyla 











Max speed 

130 mph 



Spare the Tire 






l^had a flat tire a while ago, so I mounted the space-saver spare. 
I'll admit I left it on for way longer than the owners manual 
suggests. Eventually, I replaced it with a full-size tire, but I've 
always wondered why manufacturers say you shouldn't use the 
spare for longer than necessary. 

A Since the spare tire is used so infrequently, carmakers have switched to nar- 
row, compact spares to save space and weight. Of course, a spare tire is a life- 
saver when regular tires go pop, but leaving the temporary tire on for longer than 
the manufacturer recommends invites a host of problems. First, a temporary spare 
isn't as durable as a normal tire. "ITie real strength of a tire comes from the plies- 
layers of steel and polyester underneath the rubber— and spares don't have as 
many plies as regular tires. A typical space-saver spare has only one layer of polyes- 
ter in the sidewall and two belts of steel with a layer of polyester in the tread- 
about half as many plies as a normal tire. This greatly limits puncture resistance and 
cornering ability. In addition, as the name implies, space-saver tires are intended to 
take up less room in car and crossover trunks so that those trunks can be deeper. 
For that reason, these tires are narrower and have a smaller contact patch. This 
reduces the amount of traction for the tire, increasing stopping distances and mak- 
ing handling potentially unpredictable in emergency maneuvers. It also means ABS 
and traction control aren't as effective at keeping you out of danger. And you're not 
going to have the same ground clearance. If you're towing a trailer, you'll have to 



Compact spare tires 
are designed to get 
you home, not 
across the country. 
Like almost all 
spare tires, the one 
on this Ford Focus 



is recommended for 
no more than 50 
miles of driving; 
anything more and 
you're asking for 
poor handling and a 
possible blowout. 



leave it behind— spares have much 
lower load ratings than regular tires. 
Long-term use of the spare can cause 
a serious mechanical issue, too: The 
smaller-diameter tire can put a lot of 
stress on your differential. 

The differential has a tricky job. It 
transmits engine power to the wheels 
from the transmission, but it also lets 
the left and right wheels turn at differ- 
ent speeds. This is essential for corner- 
ing. In a turn, the path of the inside 
wheel is shorter than that of the out- 
side wheel, which means they travel at 
different speeds. When your car is driv- 
ing in a straight line, the differential isn't 



PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN KELLY 



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^^ 



AutO CAR CLINIC Q+A 



in use and there's little wear and tear on its gears and bearings. But because the 
spare is smaller than the opposing wheel on the same axle, it must turn faster to 
keep up with the speed of the car, making the differential work to account for the 
variation. It's as if the car is constantly in a turn. Leave the spare on long enough 
and the grease lubricating the differential will begin to break down, accelerating 
wear between the gears and the clutch plates if it's a limited-slip differential. For 
all these reasons, manufacturers suggest keeping speeds below 50 mph and using 
the spare tire only for limited distances if possible. If a compact spare is ever 
damaged, either the tire itself or the wheel, the entire spare should be replaced 
rather than repaired. And don't forget to check the pressure in your spare every 
time you check the pressure in your other tires— it's important to make sure your 
safety net is, in fact, safe. 

Sticky Situation I got a great deal on a low-mileage 1990 Mustang 
GT, one of those little-old-lady liquidation cars everyone dreams about. The 
only problem is, it came with quite an array of bumper stickers that I didn't 
particularly want to leave on. I peeled them all off, but the entire back of the 
car is covered with sticky residue and none of my regular cleaners can get it 
off. I'm wondering if I can use my buffing wheel, or if you have a better idea? 
I've been there— you find a cherry used ride and there's something stuck to the back 
you want nothing to do with. While a buffing wheel and some compound could 
remove the residue, that's not what those tools really are designed for. Anyway, 
there are two products that will remove the sticky stuff quickly and easily. One is 
good old WD-40. Spray it on and let it sit for about 5 minutes, then wipe it away 
with a cloth. You may have to repeat the process a few times, but it always works. I 
like to use something called Goo Gone for this task, though. In my experience, it gets 
even the most stubborn goop off in the first try, without damaging the surface 
underneath it. When you've got all the sticker leftovers cleaned away, the paint will 
probably be scuffed up and splotchy. Break out the wax and give the area a once- 
over, and that Mustang will have a rear end you can be proud of. 



0*> 



PM TOOLBOX 



TOOL INDULGENCE 



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engine but wary of 
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Annoyed by that rattle in 
the dash? Wondering what 
the kids shoved under the 
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The excellent display makes 
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P0PULARMECHANICS.COM I MARCH 2012 103 



Flash Dancing © I have an old '95 Yukon with high mileage. The rear 
turn-signal lights have started flashing very rapidly. I always thought this was 
caused by a burned-out bulb, but both the front and rear lights are flashing 
quickly. How do I fix this? 

Start by looking at the widget that makes the signals actually blink, the thermal flash- 
er, aka the turn-signal relay. For most of its history, the relay has remained largely 
unchanged. It works by passing current through a thermal element that heats up, 
expands, and closes a connection between the 12-volt power source and the bulb 
sending power to the turn signal. The thermal element then cools and contracts 
because the current isn't passing 
through it, opening the circuit and turn- 
ing off the light. The most likely cause of 
your rapid flashing is that the relay has 
worn out and the springs it rests on 
have lost their bounce. Fixing the prob- 
lem is easy and cheap. Head to your 
local auto parts store and ask for a turn- 
signal relay for your Yukon. "They'll hand 
you a small, round, metal part that looks 
a bit like a little stockpot turned upside 
down. Root around in your fuse panel to 
locate the matching part and replace 
it— your owners manual or the lid of the 
fuse-box cover will help you find where 
this part is hiding. Most of the time, the 
replacement part looks almost identical 
to the original. Switching the parts is as 
easy as pulling the old one out and 
popping the new one in. pm 



Got a car problem? 

Ask Ben about it Send your questions 

to pmautoclinic<a>hearst.com 

or over Twitter at twitter.com/Pop 

MechAuto or to Car Clinic, Popular 

Mechanics, 300 W. 57th St, New York, 

NY 10019-5899. While we cannot 

answer questions individually, 

problems of general interest will 

be discussed in the column. £% 



POPULAR MECHANICS (ISSN 0032-4558) is published monthly, 12 times a 
year, by Hearst Communications, Inc., 300 West 57th Street, New York, NY 
10019 U.SA Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman 
of the Board; George R. Hearst, Jr., Chairman; Catherine A. Bostron, Secretary; 
Ronald J. Doerfler, Senior Vice President and Treasurer; Steven R. Swartz, 
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Hearst Magazines 
Division: David Carey, President; John P. Loughlin, Executive Vice President and 
General Manager; John A. Rohan, Jr., Senior Vice President, Finance. ©2012 
by Hearst Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. Popular Mechanics is a 
registered trademark of Hearst Communications, Inc. Periodicals postage paid 
at N.Y., N.Y., and additional entry post offices. Canada Post International 
Publications mail product (Canadian distribution) sales agreement no. 
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AS A SERVICE TO READERS, 

Popular Mechanics publishes 
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application of techniques or proper and 
safe functioning of manufactured 
products or reader-built projects 
resulting from information published in 
this magazine. 




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The Fast and the Curious 

(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 83) 

judge who was inspecting VWP. 
"You'd tell us if this thing was 
going to fall apart, right?" I asked. 

"Oh, heck no," he said. "We 
hope for sinkers." But VWP 
crosses flawlessly. Styrofoam pon- 
toons on each side of the craft 
keep us afloat. Paddle blades 
made from cut-up paint buckets 
and temporarily mounted on the 
wheels supply the propulsion. 

Ransom is upset that VWP 
didn't do better on the climb up 
Dead Man's Drop, but is excited 
at how well we handled the water 
crossing. The strength of his 
reactions is a revelation: The 
inventors behind this rolling cir- 
cus take their contraptions seri- 
ously. It isn't that most partici- 
pants are out to be the fastest on 
the course — one of the most cov- 
eted prizes is the Medio-CAR 
Award, given to the team that 
finishes exactly in the middle. 
Instead, artistic flair and engi- 
neering ingenuity are what's val- 
ued. The race is not about who 
can get to Ferndale first, but who 
can get there best. 

Late in the race, VWP pulls 
abreast of Bottom Feeders on a 
long hill. I look over at Flatmo; he 
looks over at me. We point at 
each other in mock menace, then 
both start pedaling madly. Dune 
buggy and sea monster trade 
leads for 30 yards, but then the 
sound of a popping chain comes 
from Bottom Feeders. They pull 
over for a quick repair as we 
laugh and continue on. 

We reach the top of Loleta 
Hill, which punishes racers with 
1 mile of 7 percent grade, and dis- 
mount to catch our breath. In the 
end, Team VWP will finish in the 
middle — not fast enough to win a 
top prize, nor average enough for 
the Medio-CAR Award. But Ran- 
som is happy simply because his 
machine has held together. 
"Blood, sweat, and gears," he says 
to nobody in particular, and hops 
back aboard. PM 



Unacceptable Risk 

(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 77) 

violation the year before, when off-duty 
drivers were found to be using the 
underbelly as a sleeping berth. 

Once behavior becomes egregious 
enough for the FMCSA to order a com- 
pany shuttered, a secondary challenge is 
posed by so-called chameleon opera- 
tions. "The problem they're having now 
is finding these companies that want to 
hide from them," Littler says. "They 
change names, they use false DOT num- 
bers, they park their buses in different 
locations. They don't want to be found." 

After the Doswell, Va., crash, the 
FMCSA issued Sky Express an Unsatis- 
factory safety rating, which placed the 
company out of service. Within days, 
Sky Express had reincarnated itself, 
with the same management selling 
tickets for the same buses under the 
company names 108 Tours and 108 Bus. 
Tickets were available from a variety of 
websites, including 2001bus.com, 
gotobus.com, and taketours.com. 

"This behavior by a few is outrageous 
and must be stopped," FMCSA head 
Anne Ferro testified before Congress in 
June. By then, the agency had issued a 
cease-and-desist letter to Sky Express. 
"This year has been the worst period in 
recent history for motorcoach safety," 
she said. Ferro explained that loose leas- 
ing practices allow rogue carriers to 
escape detection, while unregulated 
websites broker and sell tickets with no 
transparency to the public. 

Ferro argued that her agency needs 
more congressional authority to tighten 
the net around unsafe operators. It 
needs the power to require safety audits 
before a carrier ever starts operating. 
(Today, a new company can transport 
passengers after two online payments of 
just $300.) It needs to be able to conduct 
unannounced, en route inspections at 
rest stops or other safe pull-offs, rather 
than before or after trips as is now the 
norm. And it needs a way to stop "new" 
companies that rise from the ashes of 
unsafe carriers. A good start, she said, 
would be to raise the penalty for compa- 
nies that attempt to operate without 
DOT authority from the current $2000 a 
day to $25,000 per violation. 



Technology upgrades would 

no doubt save lives, too. The bus indus- 
try has lagged behind passenger vehi- 
cles when it comes to safety advances. 
While annual interstate bus fatalities 
have risen, overall road deaths are down 
25 percent since 2005 and are now at a 
historic low. Safer roads, stepped-up 
enforcement, and stricter teenage- 
driving and drunk-driving laws are 
responsible for much of the drop. But 
the now-ubiquitous use of seatbelts, 
stronger vehicle construction, and tech- 
nologies like antilock braking in cars 
have also made a big difference. 

About 70 percent of people killed in 
bus crashes are ejected from the vehicle; 
break-free glass and stronger construc- 
tion standards for roofs would reduce 
the death toll. (In the Bronx crash, the 
signpost sliced through the bus, peeling 
the roof back like the lid on a can of sar- 
dines.) Antilock brakes should be stan- 
dard in motorcoaches, which take much 
longer than passenger cars to slow and 
stop. And though the NTSB first recom- 
mended mandatory seatbelts in buses 
in 1968, they're still uncommon. Some 
manufacturers have begun building 
vehicles with three-point belts, but a 
DOT proposal to require belts in every 
new bus would speed this transition. 

A smartphone app that ranks all car- 
riers in a given departure city by their 
safety scores would go a long way toward 
helping travelers choose wisely. In the 
meantime, passengers can be proactive 
about minimizing risk: Bus companies' 
safety data can be searched on the 
FMCSA' s website (look for Bus & Passen- 
ger Carrier Safety under Quick Links). 

But for too many people, budget 
trumps safety concerns. Zhenjiang Qian, 
a Chinese tourist who was traveling to 
D.C. aboard Mike Lin's Eastern Coach 
route, had read about some of the recent 
bus accidents in the paper but still opted 
for a low-cost ride. "The bus tickets at 
Port Authority [New York City's bus ter- 
minal] cost $70 round-trip," he told a 
reporter. "This one is much cheaper." 
Absent stricter regulation, the seats of 
unsafe carriers remain filled. To Qian 
and others, until the worst happens, a 
$20 ticket seems worth the gamble, pm 

Additional reporting by Yiting Sun 




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Quality Tools at Ridiculously Low Prices 



LIFETIME WARRANTY 

ON ALL HAND TOOLS! 



FACTORY DIRECT 
TO YOU! 

How does Harbor Freight Tools sell high 
quality tools at such ridiculously low 
prices? We buy direct from the factories 
who also supply the major brands and 
sell direct to you. It's just that simple! 
See for yourself at one of our 370 Stores 
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one of our 7,000 products*, plus pick up a 
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• Over 20 Million Satisfied Customers! 

• 1 Year Competitor's Low Price Guarantee 

• No Hassle Return Policy! 

• 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed! 
Nobody Beats Our Qualify, 
Service and Price! 





WITH MINIMUM PURCHASE OF $9.99 

= E=rsj^TE=C=l-H. 

7 FUNCTION 

DIGITAL 

MULTIMETER 

REG. PRICE $9.99 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 1 Free item only available with qualifying minimum purchase (excluding price of 
free gift item). Cannot be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases. Offer good 
while supplies last Shipping & Handling charges may apply if free item not picked up in-store. Coupon cannot 
be bought, sold or transferred. Original coupon must be presented i ■-sicrc. n- wil : - vour order form, or entered 
online in order to receive the offer. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 

nil mi 1 1 in inn ii 





HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 1 Use this coupon to save 20% on any nne single item purchased when . 

you shop at a Harbor Freight Tools store. 'Cannot be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not I 

valid on any of the following: gift cards, Inside Track Club membership, extended service plans, Compressors, ■ 

Generators. Tool Cabinets, Welders, Floor Jacks, Campbell Hausfeld products, open box items, Parking Lot ■ 

Sale items, Blowout Sale items, Day After Thanksgiving Sale items, Tent Sale items, 800 number orders or ■ 

online orders. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase date with original ■ 

receipt. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must be presented in-store in ■ 

order to receive the offer. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one coupon per customer and one coupon per day. ■ 

II I li II li II 1 1 li I ill i II II ; 



LOT NO. 
97626/68986 




80 PIECE ROTARY 
TOOLSET 

CHICAOOBELECTRIC 



" SAVE 
70% 



$749 



Item 97626 
shown 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 7 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number]. Cannot 

111 d with anv other discount or cnup 11 1 1 1 I .,1 i|i li In 1 I I tigmal purchase 

date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon r "' 
be presented in-store. or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



REG. PRICE $24.99 



II llll llllll II I II I II 



10/2/55 AMP, 6/12 VOLT 

BATTERY CHARGER/ 

ENGINE STARTER 




CHICACOI 
ELECTRIC BBS 



LOT NO. 66783 



HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 3 Htll. rHILt $39. 99 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last, Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon ! I 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 1 1 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 




PITTSBURGH 
■ 105 PIECE 
SAVE TOOLKIT 

46% LOT NO. 4030 




4 DRAWER TOOL 
CHEST INCLUDED! 

REG. 
PRICE 
$64.99 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 4 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number! Cannot 

hi "1 ■ tl n 1 1 -upon Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 

date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



$34", 






inn in ii i ii mi i ii 



7 FT. 4" x 9 FT. 6" 

ALL PURPOSE WEATHER 

RESISTANT TARP 



SAVE 

50% 




12 "RATCHET 

BAR CLAMP/SPREADER 

PITTSBURGH 



REG. PRICE $6.99 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 9 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number), Cannot 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 

date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannol be l u i Ir '"h i i :um lal coupon must 

be presented in-store, or with your order form, 

i m j - i- i i pi 

discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



SAME 

63% 



REG. PRICE $5.49 



II llll llllll III III II 



HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS LIMIT 9 

In lill 1 n 11 lr>e ou shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number! Cannot 

be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannol he bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



llll Hill III II llllll 




:M=T 



NON-CONTACT 

INFRARED 

«_.,_ THERMOMETER 

SAVE WITH LASER 

55% TARGETING 



9 volt DC battery 
included. 



LOT NO. 96451 



$26" 



REG. 
PRICE 
$59.99 




HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 4 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 

be used with any other discount or coupe 1 1 i p i i I I n i i i i t h il 1 1 1 l| 

date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Originafcoupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
and one coupon per day. 



Ill II I llll II I I II I I II 



drilfmaster 

1500 WATT DUAL 

TEMPERATURE 

HEAT GUN 

(57271112°) 



SAVE 

60% ip <s> 



LOT NO, 
96289 

REG. 
PRICE 
$19.99 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 7 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 

I ill 1 1 II I 1 1 11 1 11 I I 11 n 1 1 11 In 

date with receipt. Cher good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon I fl 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one | 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



$799 



DIGITAL INSPECTION 

CAMERA WITH 2.4" COLOR 

LCD MONITOR 





LOT NO. 67979 



$7099 



Requires four AA 
batteries (included). 



REG. PRICE 
$119.99 



HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 5 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
data v. 1 'h receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per cay. 



II II I II I II II II II 1 1 II 



Item 
68303 
shown 



OSCILLATING 
MULTIFUNCTION SAVE 
POWER TOOL 66% 

8 Functions: Sanding, Cut Flooring, LOT NO. 68303/67256/68861 

Cut Metal, Scrape Concrete, A^ #% t\t\ rfp 

Remove Grout, Cut Plastic, SI UHH ddipc 

Scrape Flooring, Plunge Cut ▼ Ij *w QQ 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS LIMIT 4 M ^0 $09.33 

This valuable cc| i :; iiocrl i vvv i i I i H mil I i il < ,i I im i ■ in:, or 800 number). Cannot 

in l -i I i In- 1 1 i u i 1 1 upon Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
'I i hi ii i I i ' i Mi ii i I ' us- 

be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon II I 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 1 1| 




m*""sdar 45 WATT 

SOLAR PANEL 
KIT 

CAI/F lot NO. 

C 90599/68751 



$m 



Item 90599 
shown 



$149" 



REG. PRICE $229.99 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 3 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 

■ I i "i ii l i i 'pan Coupon not valid on pricr |-. r::h:=.s-;s ,il::;i ;;u days from original purchase 

date with receipt. Offer good while supplies fast, Coupon ca mot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 

oi enkrtd o : m oi:l:r k leceive II e council 

discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 




II I II II III II II 



CHICAGOB ELECTRIC 

POWER TOOLS 

ELECTRIC CHAIN 
SAW SHARPENER 



II 1 1 II II II llllll llll 



4-1/4" GRINDING 
WHEEL INCLUDED 



LOT NO. 
68221/93213 



Item 68221 shown 



SAVE $99" 



40% 



HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 3 



REG. PRICE $49.99 



date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Goupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



II Mil llllll II 1 1 II II 




HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 8 

This valuable coupon is flood anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



Ill I II 1 1 llll Mil 1 1 II 



REG. PRICE $14.99 



HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 7 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
I tn t! r i h i rtiH .poor: I iIh supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
ii 1 1 i t n ii ii I ii i 

u- eirsred online in order to receive the culpa 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



nun ii ii iii iii mi 



3 PIECE TITANIUM : 

NITRIDE COATED j 

HIGH SPEED STEEL : 

STEP DRILLS j 

drilfmaster j 



LOT NO. 
91616/69087 



$899 



REG. 
PRICE 
$19.99 



6" DIGITAL CALIPER 
PITTSBURGH 




LOT NO. 47257 



Includes two wr Offtfin ocr 

1.5V button cell CC0/ xIJMM „5 E £l 

batteries. OO/O S>%fl*JiJ PRICE 

$29.99 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 7 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (reta I stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 

1 I i ii 1 1 i ii; ii 1 1 1 i i i I i | H 1 1 ii In ih i i ii i i i i 

h it i 1 1 ii n 1 1 i I t 1 1 n 1 1 ' ii 1 1 i I tin ' i ii i i i ii i t 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon I II 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one | (| 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 




HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 9 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot | 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase ■ 
date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer aid one coupon per day. 



MECHANICS GLOVES 
SAVE 



50% 



ULUVCO 

LARGE 

LOT NO. 93640 



IIIIIIRIIIIIIIIIII 

8-IN-1S0CKET WRENCHES: 

PITTSBURGH 



YOUR 
CHOICE! 



X-LARGE 

LOT NO. 93641 

REG. 
PRICE 
$7.99 



LUI NU. 

$399 



HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 8 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 
do 1, sod '.-■ th any other discount or coupon. Coupon not wild en n 1 1 11 ■-■-■-, 1 - 11 ■, 1 s -■!> 1 nainal purchase 

1 ti tt "1 1 1 fl 1 1 n I 1I1 1 1 I ] 1 iin 1 11 1 I ' 1 Ii 1 1 'in 1 I coupon must 

be presented in-store, or with your order form, 

j- PI1"'W| :ri ns 1 i|hi to 111 1 1 ill |n I 

discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 




Ill I II III I III I llll II 




90 AMP FLUX 
WIRE WELDER 

LOT NO. 

NO GAS 98887/ 

REQUIRED! 98871 



$3999 



REG. PRICE $149.99 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS LIMIT 4 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last, Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred, Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
aiscouit. ''/aid thorn 6/14/12 Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 




HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 6 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 



used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original' purchase 
uate with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
he presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



iiiiiimimiiiiiii 



LOW-PROFILE 
CREEPER 



■lllllllllllllllll 



300 LB. 
CAPACITY 



$1849 



LOT NO. 

2745/69094 



SAVE 

47% 



REG. 
PRICE 
$34.99 




RECIPROCATING SAW; 
WITH ROTATING HANDLE : 

CHIC AGOG ELECTRIC . 

POWER TOOLS 1 




HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 5 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 8D0 number). Cannot 

1 an 1 1 11 1 1 1 1 11 1 mi t 1 11 1 iii — j da, s from original purchase 

ciits viih -'XDht Off:-;' nocrl ■.vh.ln supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-stoT: "■ • r\ :ir order form, or 
e-'Tbrea u ; Tiie n u.tsi "'"' recavs its coiner 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



llll III II III I III II II 



$-|999 




REG. PRICE 
$39.99 



LOT NO. 65570 



HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 5 

1 I 1 1 1 1 11I -I'M 1 il 11 t 1 1 1 1 1 I 

be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on poor purchases after 30 days from origi il iuir.i<<: 
date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must I 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 1 

or entered online in order to receive the coupon i 1 1 1 

discern 1. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one ,| || , 

coupon per customer and one coupon per day. < ■ 1 



ADJUSTABLE SHADE 
AUTO-DARKENING 
WELDING HELMET 



SAVE 



LOT NO. 46092 

$3499 

REG. PRICE 
$69.99 




HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 5 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, or 
entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12. Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



■lllllllllllllllll 



CENIMUJEUMATIC 
3 GALLON, 100 PSI 
0ILLESS PANCAKE 
AIR COMPRESSOR 



LOT NO. 
98085 



LOT NO. 95275 



SAVE $3999 

™ /O REG. PRICE $79.99 




HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 4 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or BOO number). Cannot 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days 1rom original purchase 
date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12, Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



iiiiiiimiiiiiiii 



36 LED SOLAR 
SECURITY LIGHT: 

[Bunker Hill Security [ 



SAVE ! 

28% ! 

$1799| 

REG. PRICE $24.99 ! 



Includes 1 .2 volt, 600mAh/6 volt 
NiCd rechargeable battery pack. 

HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 5 

This valuable coupon is good anywhere you shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot j 
be used with any other discount or coupon. Coupon not valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
date with receipt. Offer good while supplies last. Coupon cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must ' 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
discount. Valid through 6/14/12, Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon pa- day- 



■lllllllllllllllll 




i PUMP® 
3 TON 

HEAVY DUTY 
FLOOR JACK 



$69 



99 




REG. 
PRICE 
$139.99 



HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS - LIMIT 4 

This valuable i i < n - i n - 1. . ■ mre vou shop Harbor Freight Tools (retail stores, online, or 800 number). Cannot 
be used with any other discount or coupon Coupon iat valid on prior purchases after 30 days from original purchase 
I i >l i i i i 1 1 1 M I i 1 1 1 i i i ii ion cannot be bought, sold, or transferred. Original coupon must 
be presented in-store, or with your order form, 
or entered online in order to receive the coupon 
■jiscoinl. vald tniugi 6.-- 14/1 2 Limit one 
coupon per customer and one coupon per day. 



mil iii huh mi n 



580 LD. 

CAPACITY 

FOUR DRAWER 

ROLLER CART 

US-GENERAL 

LOT NO. 95659 

REG. 

PRICE 

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For advertising rates call John Stankewitz (212) 649-4201, or Fax: (212) 280-4201 



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COPYRIGHT ©1996 PRO+PLUS is a trade name of Avid Pro Medical, Individual results ma/ vary. These statements 
• have rot been evaluated bytlie FDA, This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. ■ 



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A PUBUC COMPANY: LUVU Hf 



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112 MARCH 2012 | POPULARMECHANICS.COM 




©The first time George Dodworth saw a laser light show, he was mesmerized. Tine 
11-year-old decided right then to create his own. Twenty-six years later, Dodworth's 
company, Lightwave International, is one of the biggest laser-entertainment providers in the 
world. He has fashioned special effects for Hollywood movies, designed light shows for 
Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Madonna, and projected Nike's logo onto a mountain for the Fiesta 
Bowl. As an electrical engineer, Dodworth is involved in every aspect of his craft, from 
building the equipment to devising new ways to control the beams. The hours can be 
grueling, but the lifestyle glamorous. "You meet the biggest stars, directors, and lighting 
designers/' he says. "But we just go in humble and do ourjobs." — olivia koski 



This 
Is My 



LASERIST 



Name: GEORGE DODWORTH 
Location: CANONSBURG, PA. 
Age: 37 
Years on Job: 16 

1. LASERS 

Inside a laser projector, a vari- 
ety of lenses, beam splitters, 
and electronics controls the 
beam of light. By mixing high- 
efficiency solid-state diode 
lasers in six colors— blue, 
cyan, gold, green, red, and 
violet— Dodworth can create 
2.8 trillion color variations. 
Electrical signals control tiny 
mirrors inside the projector 
that move at 60,000 times per 
second, allowing Dodworth to 
"draw" animations. 

2. GOGGLES 

A rogue beam can harm eyes, 
so Dodworth dons goggles 
coated with metal oxides that 
reflect the bandwidth of light 
used by lasers. At shows, 
beams are typically required 
to be 10 feet above the audi- 
ence. But by using equipment 
that keeps power low, moves 
beams quickly, and limits 
pulses in a given time period, 
Dodworth can safely direct 
effects into a crowd. "Don't 
try this at home," he says. 

3. COMPUTER 

Dodworth uses special laser 
software to create his effects. 
Customized hardware on the 
computer converts his digital 
code into analog signals that 
manage the color of each 
beam and its movement. 

4. MIRRORS 

On show day, Dodworth 
installs and aligns lasers, as 
well as 4- to 12-inch silver- 
coated mirrors that direct 
beams. He rotates each mirror 
into position with fine-pitch 
screws— 100 turns per inch- 
as he guides the source beam 
remotely with an iPad app. 



PHOTOGRAPH BY NATHAN PERKEL 



36V OF FREEDOM 




Istihl 
° 0AB6 




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